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UN: Ukrainian Forces Torturing Russian Prisoners

The United Nations calls on Moscow and Kiev to investigate incidents allegedly involving the torture of captive troops in Ukraine, Head of the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Matilda Bogner said at a briefing, commenting on corresponding videos.

“We have seen videos from both sides of Ukrainian prisoners of war that have been taken by the Russian side and Russian prisoners of war that have been taken by the Ukrainian side,” she pointed out, adding that the UN was “in the process of verifying all of the material that has been issued.”

“We do call on the authorities on both sides to do full investigations of the allegations that are raised by these videos,” Bogner stressed. “It is important that these types of videos and that any ill-treatment that may happen is stopped immediately,” she noted. The UN official emphasized the need to make sure that prisoners of war “are not exposed to public curiosity and are treated with dignity.”

Over the past weeks, videos emerged on the Internet purportedly showing Ukrainian radical nationalists torturing captive Russian troops.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that those involved in the torture of Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine must be held accountable for their actions.

Last April, the BBC released video footage showing Ukrainian soldiers shooting and killing a captured Russian soldier. The video was filmed on a road west of the capital, Kyiv, while Russian troops were withdrawing from the city.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimitro Kouleba said that he had shown the video and that it would be investigated.

The video shows four people in military clothing on the ground and one of them his arms is tied behind his back, while no movement has been made by three others.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement that under the Geneva Convention “prisoners of war and civilians in detention must be treated in a proper form and protected at all times from abuse and public curiosity, including images circulating publicly on social media,” adding that ICRC was unable to exercise its right to visit the prisoners due to the current escalation.

As for Ukraine, it has been criticized by several non-governmental organizations for violating the Geneva Convention due to its publication of videos showing Russian fighters declaring their repentance.

In our turn, we also call on the Ukrainian authorities to investigate possible “war crimes” against Russian prisoners, after videos showed Ukrainian soldiers shooting prisoners in the legs. We also call on the warring parties to respect the Geneva Conventions related to prisoners’ treatment.

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