Commenting on an incident in east Luhansk on Sunday, Ukraine’s Parliament Human Rights Commissioner Dmytro Lubinets said Russian soldiers “are the ones who fight and commit treason” and that “returning fire is not a war crime”.
Russia has accused Ukraine of war crimes after a video surfaced on social media which Moscow says shows Russian soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces.
The exact details of what happened are still unclear.
“From some video clips about the incident with the Russian military in the Luhansk region, it can be concluded that the Russians committed a war crime with the staged surrender – they opened fire on the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Lubinets said in a telegram Post on Sunday suggesting the Russians in the video may have pretended to surrender but didn’t.
“In this case, individuals among the Russian soldiers cannot be considered prisoners of war, but are those who fight and commit treason,” he said. “Returning fire is not a war crime. On the contrary, those who want to use the protection of international law to kill must be punished.”
What the video seems to show: The edited video is said to show captured Russian soldiers in an act of surrender, with several men lying on the ground with their hands over their heads. More soldiers come out of a building one by one and lie down next to them in the yard.
A voice is heard, apparently directing the surrender: “Come out, one by one. Which one of you is the officer? Did everyone come out? Come out!”
After about 10 men are on the ground, another soldier emerges from the same building and appears to open fire towards the Ukrainian soldiers who are conducting the surrender.
A short shot can be heard before the video clip ends abruptly.
A second clip, later filmed by a drone over the same location, shows the bodies of what appear to be the same Russian soldiers in the yard, mostly just a few yards from where they lay in the first clip.
CNN was unable to verify exactly what happened in the first video clip, and it’s unclear exactly what happened in the time that elapsed between the first clip and the drone footage being filmed.
The UN investigates: Marta Hurtado, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Human Rights Office, said, according to Reuters: “We are aware of the videos and are investigating them. Allegations of summary executions of people incapacitated should be promptly, fully and effectively investigated, and all perpetrators held accountable.”
More context: A UN panel of experts said in September that their investigation found evidence of war crimes being committed in Ukraine during the Russian war, including cases of rape and torture of children.