The United Nations says it is “appalled by particularly gruesome videos posted on social media” -- one of which purports to show the execution of a captured Ukrainian solider, and a second which purports to show the mutilated bodies of two Ukrainian soldiers lying on the ground.
In a short statement, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, part of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), says the apparent executions are “not an isolated incident.”
“In recent reports the Mission documented a number of serious violations of international humanitarian law, including those committed against prisoners of war. The latest incidents must also be properly investigated, and the perpetrators must be held accountable,” the statement said.
On March 24, the UN said it has documented dozens of cases of summary executions of prisoners of war (POWs) carried out by both Russian and Ukrainian forces since February 2022, but admits it is far harder to get information from Russia, or territories under Russian control, than it is from Ukrainian authorities.
The OHCHR said it has documented the summary execution of 15 Ukrainian POWs by Russian forces, in addition to the use of Ukrainian POWs as human shields, the death of two wounded POWs due to lack of medical care, as well as torture.
On the other side, the report says it has documented -- through open-source information, in situ visits and witness interviews -- the summary execution of at least 25 Russian POWs being held by Ukrainian forces.