After a preliminary investigation, experts from the UN human rights office confirmed the authenticity of the circulating viral footage of the execution of Russian prisoners of war who surrendered to the Ukrainian army in the village of Makiivka.
“It is highly likely that (the images) are authentic in what they show. The real circumstances of the entire sequence of events must be investigated in the most extensive way possible,” Volker Turk said on Friday.
“It is essential that all allegations of summary executions are investigated fully in a manner that is — and is seen to be — independent, impartial, thorough, transparent, prompt and effective,” the UN human rights chief added.
Turk called on the parties to issue clear instructions to their forces that there should be no retaliation made against those taken prisoners.
“Persons hors de combat, including soldiers who have surrendered, are protected under international humanitarian law and their summary execution constitutes a war crime,” the high commissioner said, urging the parties to “give clear instructions to their forces that there should be no reprisals or revenge against prisoners of war.”
“Order your troops to treat those who surrender and those they detain humanely,” Turk added.
“We understand the Ukrainian authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the events in Makiivka,” he added, referring to the area where the executions reportedly took place.
The videos, which appeared on social media some days ago, showed the bodies of Russian servicemen killed after surrendering to Ukrainian troops.
One video shows soldiers apparently surrendering to several military personnel in camouflage and wearing yellow armbands. The soldiers who are giving themselves up lie down on the ground in the debris-filled backyard of a house. The video abruptly cuts as shots are heard.
Another video filmed from above shows the bodies of around a dozen people surrounded by apparent blood stains.
Russia's Human Rights Council said the alleged executions took place in Makiivka, a village in the eastern Lugansk region of Ukraine, which the Ukrainian army said it had recaptured.
Ukraine has admitted that the soldiers were shot following what it calls a false surrender but has denied responsibility for killing them.
The Kremlin has vowed to bring to justice the people responsible for the alleged execution of its soldiers.
"There is no doubt that Russia itself will be looking for the perpetrators of this crime. They must be found and punished," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russia started a military campaign in its southern neighbor in February. It says it launched the operation in order to defend the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev.
Back in 2014, the two republics broke away from Ukraine, refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government there that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.
Ever since the beginning of the war, Western countries, led by the United States, have been slapping Russia with a slew of economic sanctions and pumping Ukraine full of advanced weapons, steps that Russia says would only prolong the hostilities.
Source: Press TV#Russia #Ukraine about 3 days
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