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Ombudsman confirms Russia used Ukrainian POWs as human shields

by Dmytro Basmat and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 28, 2023 2:29 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman), Dmytro Lubinets attends an international conference of human rights commissioners in Ankara, Turkey, on Jan. 12, 2023. (Muhammed Abdullah Kurtar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets has confirmed the authenticity of a video in which a Russian soldier is seen using Ukrainian POWs as human shields, New Voice reported on Dec. 27.

"We managed to establish that the video is definitely not edited and it is real. We understand where it was recorded and by whom," Ombudsman Lubinets said in a TV interview. "In advance, we even have an idea as to which of the servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces committed this crime."

The video in question surfaced on Dec. 14, and was republished by RFE/RL, depicting what appeared to be unarmed Ukrainian POWs being forced to walk at gunpoint toward Ukrainian lines. Journalists from RFE/RL said they managed to pinpoint the time and place of the incident but did not share it at the request of the Ukrainian military.

Lubinets had previously said that the practice may be systematic among Russian troops. There have been previous reports that Russian troops forced POWs to walk into minefields, he said.

The use of human shields is prohibited under international law and constitutes a war crime under the Geneva Convention. The Prosecutor General's Office has also opened an investigation into Russia's alleged use of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) as human shields, and Lubinets had already shared details of the alleged crime with the International Criminal Court based on the video evidence.

Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine has been accompanied by numerous war crimes and atrocities, with Ukrainian prosecutors recording more than 110,000 war crime cases to date.

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