Russian soldiers laugh while torturing Ukrainian prisoners of war with mock execution

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‘One, two, three,’ an unmasked Russian soldier counts down before firing his Kalashnikov at a fallen Ukrainian prisoner of war (POW).

Bang. The bullet strikes in the dirt track, a few centimeters away from the head of the captive. It is all for a laugh, part of the humiliation and torture of Ukrainians in the battlefield.

Footage shared on Telegram shows four Ukrainian POWs walk in a line, with arms tied behind their backs. All are blindfolded.

They are being marched through by Vladimir Putin’s troops who are giggling and putting their thumbs up to the camera.

One of the Russian troops then kicks one of the captives in the groin, causing him to fall to the ground in fits of pain.

Struggling to get up, one of the soldier says: ‘Looks like we are gonna have to kill him.’

Russian soldiers torturing Ukrainian PoWs
Moments before the Russian soldier fires into the ground, next to the captive, as a twisted joke (Picture: Telegram/dmytro_lubinetz)

This is when he reloads his firearm before pretending to shoot him straight in the skull.

The fate of the Ukrainian men after the recording finished – and the identities of the torturers – remains unclear.

According to preliminary information, it was captured somewhere in the Kharkiv region where Russia is pushing ahead with an offensive.

Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets shared the clip on Telegram, warning of the torture that POWs are suffering.

‘Another mockery of Ukrainian prisoners of war. A video showing Russian soldiers mocking Ukrainian POWs is circulating on the Internet,’ he wrote.



What the Geneva Convention says about the treatment of POWs

The treatment of prisoners of war (POWs) is governed by the Third Geneva Convention.

Here are the key points:

  1. Humane Treatment: POWs must be treated humanely at all times. Any violence and intimidation that endangers their health or leads to their death is prohibited.
  2. Medical Care: They must receive adequate medical care.
  3. Food and Water: POWs are entitled to sufficient food and water.
  4. Accommodation: The detaining power must provide suitable accommodation.
  5. Sanitation: Adequate sanitary facilities must be provided.
  6. Clothing: POWs should be provided with adequate clothing.
  7. Work: They can be required to work, but it must not be unhealthy, dangerous, or degrading. They should also be paid for their work.
  8. Correspondence: POWs have the right to send and receive letters.
  9. Religion: POWs have the right to practice their religion.
  10. Discipline and Order: Any disciplinary measures must be humane, and judicial proceedings must be fair.
  11. Repatriation: POWs should be freed and repatriated at the end of a conflict.
  12. Prohibited Actions:
    • Torture, both physical and mental.
    • Coercion to obtain information.
    • Unnecessary suffering or injury.
    • Collective punishment.

‘The video records beatings, humiliation, threats, imitation of shooting. Sadly, such treatment of Ukrainian POWs is not an exception to the rules, but a common tactic for the occupiers.’

‘Such actions are a violation of the Geneva Conventions, according to which POWs have the right to humane treatment.’

Lubinets said he shared the footage with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Just days ago Russia and Ukraine exchanged altogether 150 POWs, some of which had been in captivity in detention centres for more than two years.

Some reported they had suffered physical and mental torture at the hands of their captors.

Russian soldiers laughing as they beat their captives
Putin’s men laughing as they beat their captives (Picture: Telegram/dmytro_lubinetz)

Evidence gathered by the United Nations warns that Russia systematically tortures Ukrainian POWs, documenting rape threats and the use of electric shocks on their genitals.

A Commission of Inquiry said in a report that the scale of such torture cases may amount to the most serious abuses known as crimes against humanity, describing their occurrence as ‘widespread and systematic’.

Before and after pictures of some detainees who have just returned to Ukrainian soil show how much weight their have lost in Russia’s detention camps, showing how hunger is also used to break them down.

Danielle Bell, who heads the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), said in March: ‘Almost every single one of the Ukrainian POWs we interviewed described how Russian servicepersons or officials tortured them during their captivity.

‘They used repeated beatings, electric shocks, threats of execution, prolonged stress positions and mock execution.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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