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Ombudsman asks UN, Red Cross to investigate execution of Ukrainian POWs in Avdiivka

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 20, 2024 12:19 PM 2 min read
A view of the city as an airstrike on the Metinvest coke plant is seen in the background in Avdiivka, Ukraine on Oct. 30, 2023. (Vlada Liberova / Libkos via Getty Images)
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Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on Feb. 20 he appealed to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to investigate the killings of Ukrainian prisoners of war at the Zenit strongpoint in Avdiivka.

Ukrainian forces withdrew from Avdiivka just north of Russian-occupied Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 17 after months of resisting Russia’s intensified offensive against the town.

During the withdrawal, several seriously injured and killed Ukrainian servicemen could not be evacuated from the Zenit strongpoint due to continuous bombardment and the complete encirclement of the area, Ukraine’s 110th Brigade said on Feb. 19.

Ukrainian forces reportedly contacted organizations negotiating with Russia on prisoner exchanges to provide assistance to the wounded, unarmed Ukrainian soldiers.

“The enemy informed the coordinators of this process that they agreed to evacuate our wounded, provide them with assistance, and exchange them later. Our soldiers were ordered to save their lives,” the brigade wrote on Facebook, saying that Russian troops broke their promise and shot the Ukrainian soldiers.

Russia takes Avdiivka at steep price, as Ukraine forced to face shortcomings
The capture of Avdiivka is Russia’s first major achievement in nine months, but it doesn’t leave any side looking good. For Russia, it was a Pyrrhic victory that consumed an army’s worth of equipment and killed or mangled estimated tens of thousands of Russian men to capture

According to the 110th Brigade, among the executed were Andrii Dubnytskyi, Ivan Zhyntnyk, Heorhii Pavlov, Oleksandr Zinchuk, and Mykola Savosik. Information on the fate of a sixth soldier has not yet been confirmed.

“This is not the first time that Russia grossly violates the norms of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions by executing prisoners of war,” Lubinets said on Telegram.

“I call on the entire civilized world to unite and increase pressure on the terrorist country because there are no laws and agreements for Russia. They perceive only force.”

In the most recent reported case, Russian forces killed two Ukrainian POWs in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 18, Ukraine's Ground Forces reported.

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