Yesterday, a video appeared online showing the bestial execution of a Ukrainian prisoner of war by the Russian military. Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malar announced today that immediately after the publication of the video, the authorities in Kyiv initiated steps to establish the identity of the perpetrators and the murdered man.
The head of the SBU announced that the perpetrators will be found “wherever they are” and “will face punishment”.
An extremely drastic video of the execution of a prisoner of war appeared on Tuesday evening. It shows men in uniforms with white ribbons (which Russian military officers usually use to identify themselves) cutting off the head of a living man with Ukrainian distinctions. The perpetrators are masked. As the BBC’s Russian editorial notes, the footage shows bright green foliage and, in view of this, it is not impossible that the frames were recorded some time ago.
“Ukraine will not forget this”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski, commenting on the recording, stated on Wednesday: “there is something that no one in the world can ignore: how easily these beasts kill”. He warned that Ukraine “does not intend to forget anything and forgive the killers” and declared that “terror must be defeated”.
Shortly after the publication, Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s law firm, posted on social media that “there will be an answer and responsibility for everything”. Yermak did not clarify what the comment was about, but some Ukrainian media believed it was a reaction to the video of the murder of the captive.
SBU begins the investigation
Ukrainian services are analysing the footage to identify the war criminals; “tonight we dealt with this together with other force ministries,” Malar wrote on the Telegram service.
“We are doing everything to identify the slain. We must all realise that establishing a person’s identity from a video, and even more so – under such circumstances, is an extremely difficult task. That is why we ask you to refrain from publicly announcing any version until official conclusions have been communicated,” the deputy minister stated.
She appealed that out of respect for the slain man’s relatives, they should refrain from speculating on his identity, even if someone is absolutely sure they recognise the slain man.
Malar also asked that this video and other recordings of this kind not be disseminated. She assessed that the intention of the Russians is to intimidate and thus weaken the Ukrainians.