A chilling video has emerged that apparently shows a Ukrainian prisoner of war standing next to a shallow grave and taking one last drag from a cigarette before he is executed by Russian soldiers. The disturbing comes as Ukraine described the death of the soldier as a "heinous war crime."
Andriy Yermak, the head of the Cabinet of the Ukrainian President, referred to the murder assuring that "for every crime, there will be a payback." The graphic clip, first circulated on Telegram, has since gone viral. Late on Monday, Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, wrote on Twitter that the "horrific" video was more "proof this war is genocidal."
The grim video shows a Ukrainian military officer being taken into Russian captivity. He can be seen smoking a cigarette in a small hole in the ground that appears to be a shallow grave. He can be heard uttering the words says "Glory to Ukraine", while a group of soldiers who cannot be seen in the video are heard sneering in the background.
He then takes one last drag from a cigarette before he is killed by automatic firearms. Ukrainian lawmakers have described the incident as an evidence of "genocide."
" Today, a video appeared of the occupiers brutally killing a soldier, who bravely said to their faces: 'Glory to Ukraine!" stated Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in his evening address.
Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba has urged the International Criminal Court to probe the footage.
"Horrific video of an unarmed Ukrainian POW executed by Russian forces merely for saying 'Glory to Ukraine'. Another (piece of) proof this war is genocidal," Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
Kuleba added that it was that international criminal court prosecutor Karim Khan should "launch an immediate ICC investigation into this heinous war crime,".
"Perpetrators must face justice," he said.
The footage has also been provided to Ukraine's "international partners," according to Dmytro Lubinets, the country's human rights commissioner.
"Once again, they violate Geneva conventions. They will not evade responsibility for their atrocities," Lubinets wrote.
War Crimes Continue
It could not be immediately verified where and when the video was filmed and whether a Ukrainian prisoner of war was being shot, as some Ukrainian officials and social media users claimed.
Senior officials in Kyiv blamed Russian forces and demanded that justice be served as the words allegedly spoken by the imprisoned Ukrainian soldier gained popularity on social media.
Both Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of executing prisoners of war on several occasions in the year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian men recruited from jails across the nation make up the majority of the Wagner mercenary group leading Russia's attack on Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
Russian soldiers are alleged to have killed, tortured, and kidnapped Ukrainians repeatedly throughout the war.
A senior US source said last November that the pattern may possibly incriminate high officials in war crimes.
According to Beth Van Schaack, the US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, there is compelling evidence that Russian violations in Ukraine were not arbitrary or unplanned.
There is mounting evidence that Russia's invasion of Ukraine "has been accompanied by systemic war crimes committed in every region where Russian forces have been deployed," she said.
Evidence from liberated areas shows "deliberate, indiscriminate and disproportionate" attacks against civilian populations, mistreatment of civilians and POWs while in custody, the forcible deportation of Ukrainian citizens, including children, to Russia, as well as execution-style killings and sexual assault, she told reporters.