Russian troops executed at least 7 Ukrainian POWs near Bakhmut

Russian troops killed at least seven Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered as prisoners of war (POW) near Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 24, Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets reported.

“In the video footage that we managed to obtain, it is evident that Ukrainian soldiers were surrendering as prisoners of war: Their hands were raised in the air, indicating they were unarmed and posed no threat,” Lubinets wrote on Telegram on Feb. 25.

“Russian troops were supposed to take them as prisoners, but instead ruthlessly executed them.”

Although the exact number of Ukrainians executed by Russians is unknown, it is believed to be at least seven, the ombudsman said, adding that they were the servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Lubinets also reported that they had already established the military unit of Russian troops who were behind the execution. Killing of POWs violates the Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime.

“This incident must be documented as yet another violation of international humanitarian law by Russia,” Lubinets wrote.

“I will immediately send official letters to the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, urging them to document and publicly acknowledge that Russian military personnel are killing Ukrainian prisoners of war.”

Reports of Ukrainian prisoners of war being tortured or killed while in Russian custody have surfaced since the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.

Last week, Ukraine’s military said Russian troops killed two Ukrainian prisoners of war in Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine’s 110th Brigade reported on Feb. 19 that the Russian military promised to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka but instead shot and killed five of the Ukrainian troops.

On Feb. 18, three Ukrainian POWs were also killed by Russian troops near Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

“For the Russian army, the Geneva Conventions, rules, and customs of war mean nothing. They act according to their own unspoken ‘conventions,’ ‘rules,’ and ‘customs’ – cruelty, treachery, and vileness,” Lubenets wrote.

At the “Ukraine. Year 2024” forum on Feb. 25, Lubinets said that there are currently 28,000 Ukrainian citizens in Russian captivity.

According to him, the captives are spread across Russia and the occupied territories, according to Lubinets. Many are religious figures, journalists, NGO workers, and representatives from local governments.

Ukraine has managed to return 3,135 citizens, including 147 civilians. Around 90% of Ukrainian prisoners of war are tortured every day, Lubinets said.

Read also: Ukraine war latest: Kyiv asks UN, Red Cross to investigate execution of Ukrainian POWs in Avdiivka

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