UN: Both the Russian and Ukrainian military executed prisoners arbitrarily and summarily

A mass grave was discovered in Izyum, Ukraine/Photo; EPA-EFE/OLEG PETRASYUK

The United Nations (UN) announced today that it has evidence that both Ukrainian and Russian forces summarily executed several dozen prisoners of war since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"We are deeply concerned about the execution of 25 Russian prisoners of war and persons outside the conflict, as well as 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war," said the head of the UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner.

According to her, the UN has data on Ukrainian executions of Russians, often immediately after they were captured on the battlefield.

"The UN is aware of five investigations by Kiev into 22 victims, but they do not know whether the perpetrators of those crimes have been prosecuted," Bogner added.

On the other hand, it is known that 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war were executed "shortly after their capture", and 11 executions were carried out by the Russian paramilitary group "Wagner", while the rest by Russian forces.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Kiev and Moscow have accused each other of mistreatment of prisoners, which constitutes a war crime.

A report by the UN Human Rights Watch alleged that members of the Ukrainian armed forces subjected Russian prisoners of war to death threats, mock executions or threats of sexual violence.

In several cases, the beatings were "purely retaliatory," the report added.

The UN report also condemned abuses suffered by Ukrainian captives at the hands of Russian forces, including torture, denial of medical treatment that sometimes resulted in death, sexual violence and denial of access to water and food.

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