The Ukrainian government has responded immediately to allegations of war crimes committed by Ukrainian troops in the shooting of Russian POWs. The videos, widely circulated on YouTube, showed what appear to be Russian-speaking Ukrainian troops shooting captured Russian POWs in the legs.
These reports, supposedly from Kharkiv, would match up with the current Ukrainian offensive against Russian troops in the area. The Ukrainian government will immediately investigate the reports in light of the event.
“We are a European army, and we do not mock our prisoners. If this turns out to be real, this is absolutely unacceptable behavior.”Oleksiy Arestovych, Ukrainian Presidential Advisor
In 2014, the Ukrainian government carried out the prosecution for war crimes by the Army. Given the humanitarian and military situation in Ukraine, immediate prosecution could be delayed until a more secure line of control is established.
A few things remain clear:
- The absence of Putin’s acknowledgment of war does not preclude Ukraine from following the Geneva Conventions.
- Ukraine must hold accountable the actions of its soldiers, as it has endeavored to do so, in order to maintain its legitimacy as a Western state.
- Though the scale of the Russian Army’s barbarism and inhumanity may be leagues beyond what Ukrainian troops are committing in Kharkiv, there can be no excuse for war crimes on either side.
Ukraine’s acknowledgment and investigation into the claims of knee-capping are exemplary for a nation facing a ferocious war of conquest. Though right in holding its Army accountable, critics of Ukraine should not compare the country fighting for its freedom to Russia, which has refused to acknowledge the genocidal war it has started.
WorldAffairs.International has been logging Russian war crimes since the start of the war. A full report will be made available upon the conclusion of hostilities.
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