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Russian troops beheaded Ukrainian soldier in Donetsk Oblast, Kyiv claims

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 18, 2024 8:06 PM 2 min read
A Russian serviceman patrols a destroyed residential area in the city of Sievierodonetsk, Donetsk Oblast, on July 12, 2022. Sievierodonetsk has been occupied by Russian troops since June 2022. (Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin on June 18 accused Russian forces of beheading a Ukrainian soldier in Donetsk Oblast, saying it was yet another war crime and part of a "planned strategy" by the Kremlin.

In a post on social media, Kostin said his office had received information that Russian commanders had given orders "not to capture Ukrainian servicemen, but instead to kill them with inhuman cruelty - by beheading."

His post was accompanied by a blurred picture showing a military vehicle with a severed head on the hood.

The Kyiv Independent could not verify the photo.

His office released further information in a post on Telegram saying the gruesome find was discovered during "aerial reconnaissance at one of the combat positions in the Donetsk region."

"This is terrible barbarism that has no place in the 21st century," Kostin said.

"And this is more proof that the war crimes committed by the aggressor are not isolated incidents, but a planned strategy of the Russian regime.

"These criminal orders were given at the level of battalion and company leadership of the occupying forces."

Kostin said Ukraine would "not leave these crimes unpunished" and called on the "entire civilized world to isolate and punish the terrorist country."

Russia is accused of committing numerous war crimes during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, including the execution of captive Ukrainian soldiers.

Earlier this month, Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets appealed to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to investigate videos showing beatings, humiliation, and threats of Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian soldiers reportedly in the Kharkiv direction.

"Unfortunately, such treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war is not an exception to the rules, but a common tactic for the occupiers," Lubinets wrote.

Lubinets has previously appealed to the UN and the ICRC to investigate other crimes committed against Ukrainian prisoners of war, including the execution of at least five POWs in Avdiivka in February.

As of March 2024, Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office collected pretrial information on over 128,000 victims of war crimes.

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