The images are unbearable. Lying on the ground, two men in military uniform bleed their blood, which spills onto the bitumen of a worn road. There is a dull sound of breathing. “He is still alive”, remarks a voice. A soldier fires two shots, but the body is still moving. A third shot ends the victim’s hoarse snoring. A few yards away are two other men in the blood, one of whom has his hands tied behind his back. Some wear the white armband of the Russian troops. “Slave Ukrainian” †“Glory to Ukraine”, in French), a man slides in front of the camera. A dozen warriors appear in the picture.
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On the side, a Russian BMD-2 armored vehicle, marked with the letter “V”, is visible. These murders appear to have been committed after an ambush by Ukrainian soldiers against a Russian column, Write the New York Times (in English).
“Soldiers on the ground told us that this attack had taken place 48 hours earlier”† wrote, Saturday, April 2, the independent journalist Oz Katerji, who noted the destruction of 13 tanks and armored vehicles. On the same day, the Russian Ministry of Defense broadcast the video of a destroyed Russian convoy near the village of Dmitrovka, west of Kiev, where the troops sent by Moscow were withdrawn.
The BBC has found the road connecting Dmitrovka to Irpin and Boutcha, by combining different visual elements (in English)† British media also broadcast a satellite image from Maxar Technologies, dated March 31, showing armored vehicles and bloodstains on the ground. According to the BBC, the scene was shot on the afternoon of March 29, or earlier, as an early version of the video appeared on the morning of March 30. It is very likely that the victims were Russian soldiers, as the statement of one of the men suggests: “There they are, the defenders of the Russian army”†
The unit in question has not been formally identified, but the Ukrainian media Union attributes the success of the ambush to the Georgian Legion, a paramilitary organization fighting alongside Kiev. According to New York Timesalso mentions one of the soldiers involved “Belgravia Boys”, which probably refers to a nearby residential area. Some pro-Russian Telegram accounts claim to have identified two men appearing in the image, stating their names. It would be a Georgian fighter, former bodyguard of the ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili, anda fighter from Kiev.
These images caused Moscow to react, which condemns “war crimes”. lThe Investigative Commission of the Russian Federation has announced charges against Georgian legion commander Mamuka Mamulashvili. During from a show on YouTubethe latter had stated on Wednesday that his men would not take Russian prisoners of war or “kadyrovite”– meaning they have settled the fate of the vanquished with blood. “I didn’t see the video”noted Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of his NATO visit in Brussels (Belgium), reaffirming that the Ukrainian military “respected the rules of war”, but without excluding an isolated act that will be the subject of investigation. Before adding: “You don’t understand how we feel after seeing the images of Boutcha”†
This is not the first time Kiev’s armed forces have been singled out. A few days earlier, there had been much commentary on another video in which men in military uniforms tortured prisoners. Some of them wore the white armband worn by the Russian troops, while they were beaten by men wearing the blue armband, a sign of recognition by the Ukrainian armed forces.
According to the franceinfo Revelators’ verification, the scene took place in a dairy, east of Kharkiv, near the village of Mala Rohan, as evidenced by several matching visual elements (red poles, building, patterns on the ground, etc.) . This location is also in line with the current military situation. The village of Mala Rohan had just been liberated by Ukrainian troops during an offensive between 25 and 26 March.
The Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeri Zalouzhny, had the on Facebook a Russian staging with the aim of “discredit the armed forces” from Kyiv. On the same day, Presidential Advisor Alexei Arestovitch, for his part, stated that an investigation would be launched and that: “the guilty, if found, would be punished”† Four days later, the NGO Human Rights Watch had mentioned of potentials “war crimes” Ukrainians and called on Kiev to shed full light on this episode. More generally, she still calls on Ukraine to stop the spread of images of Russian prisoners on social networks.