Zelensky vows justice after video appears to show Ukrainian soldier’s execution | CNN


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to “find the murderers” involved in a video that he said showed the execution of a Ukrainian soldier by Russian troops, as officials in Kyiv roundly condemned the incident as a war crime.

The video shows an unarmed troop allegedly in Russian captivity wearing Ukrainian combat fatigues and smoking a cigarette, near what appears to be a fighting position.

The man is then shown pulling the cigarette from his mouth, blowing out the smoke and saying, “Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine),” before being executed, with fighters off camera firing several shots at him.

The Ukrainian Army’s 30th Mechanized Brigade named the soldier on Tuesday as Tymofii Mykolayovych Shadura.

The brigade said in a Facebook post that Shadura was part of the contingent and had been missing since February 3 after fighting near the eastern city of Bakhmut, as the battle for control of the eastern Donetsk region intensifies.

“Currently, the body of our serviceman is on the temporarily occupied territory. The final confirmation of his identity will be established after the body is returned and the relevant examinations are conducted,” the brigade’s post added.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, pictured on February 24, 2023, condemned footage seemingly showing the execution of a Ukrainian soldier by Russian troops.

Zelensky denounced the video and said it shows “how the occupiers brutally killed a warrior.”

“Today, a video has been released showing how the occupiers brutally killed a warrior who bravely said to their faces: ‘Glory to Ukraine,’” Zelensky said in his nightly address on Monday. “I want us all to respond to his words in unity: ‘Glory to the hero. Glory to heroes. Glory to Ukraine.’”

“We will find the murderers,” he added.

CNN has not been able to independently verify who the executed soldier is, where he was shot, and who shot him. CNN has reached out to the Ukrainian defense ministry to get further details on the incident, and to the Russian defense ministry for a response. Russia has consistently denied accusations that its soldiers have committed war crimes during its invasion, despite evidence to the contrary.

The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, described the footage as “a manifestation of rascality and ignobility.”

“The execution of a captured Ukrainian soldier is a violation of the Geneva Conventions,” Lubinets wrote on Telegram, adding that he has shared the video with international allies “as evidence of yet another Russian war crime.”

“All over the world the words ‘Glory to Ukraine’ evoke honor, respect and pride, the Russians execute people for the Ukrainian slogan.”

Lubinets added that it was “painful” to see what Russian forces were doing in his country.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the video was additional “proof” that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was “genocidal,” and called on the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into “this heinous war crime.”

“Perpetrators must face justice,” Kuleba tweeted Monday.

Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, also called the incident a “war crime.”

Western allies of Kyiv have called for greater measures to hold Moscow accountable amid accusations of crimes against humanity since the war began in February 2022, including targeted killings of civilians, the forcible transfers of children and sexual assault incidents.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland reaffirmed Washington’s “determination to hold Russia accountable for crimes” during an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Friday.

The US Justice Department has taken several steps to hold the Russian government and its supporters accountable since the invasion began.

On Wednesday, Garland testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believed the Russian government was committing crimes against humanity and said the Justice Department supports efforts by The Hague to investigate and prosecute those crimes.

It came days after the US State Department imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian officials and entities involved in the war, including three senior Russian military leaders who will be blocked from entering the country due to their involvement “in gross violations of human rights perpetrated against Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of wars,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

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