The Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, commented Sunday on an incident in eastern Luhansk, saying that Russian soldiers “are those who fight and commit treason” and that “responding fire is not a war crime.”
Russia has accused Ukraine of war crimes after a video emerged on social media that Moscow says shows Russian soldiers killed after they surrendered to Ukrainian forces.
The exact details of what happened are still unclear.
“From some videos about the incident with the Russian army in the Luhansk region, it can be concluded that the Russians committed a war crime by using gradual surrender – they shot the army of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Lubinets said. Posted on Telegram on Sunday, suggesting that the Russians from the video may have acted as if they were going to surrender but did not.
“In this case, individuals from among the Russian military cannot be considered prisoners of war, but those who fight and commit treason,” he said. “Returning fire is not a war crime. On the contrary, those who want to use the protections of international law to kill must be punished.”
What the video shows: The edited video purports to show captured Russian soldiers in an act of surrender, with many of the men sprawled on the ground on their foreheads with their hands above their heads. One by one, more soldiers were seen exiting a building and lying beside them in the courtyard.
A voice apparently directing surrender can be heard shouting: “Come outside, one by one. Which of you is the officer? Is everyone out? Show up!”
After about 10 men fall to the ground, another soldier emerges from the same building and appears to shoot in the direction of the Ukrainian soldiers who are doing the surrender.
Short gunfire is heard before the video clip ends abruptly.
A second clip filmed later from a drone over the same location shows the bodies of what appear to be the same Russian soldiers in the yard, most of them just a few meters away from where they lay in the first clip.
CNN has been unable to verify exactly what happened in the first video clip, and it’s not clear exactly what happened in the time between the first clip and the shooting of the drone footage.
The United Nations is investigating: Marta Hurtado, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, said, according to Reuters: “We are aware of the videos and are investigating them. Allegations of summary executions of people hors de combat must be promptly, fully and effectively investigated, and the perpetrators held accountable.”
More context: A United Nations panel of experts said in September that its investigation had found evidence of war crimes committed during Russia’s war in Ukraine, including cases of rape and torture of children.