KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian military on Tuesday tentatively identified a man who appears to have been shot by Russian-speakers in a short video that has gone viral on Ukrainian social media as one of its missing soldiers.
The country’s general prosecutor announced the opening of a criminal case on the murder, and human rights defender Dmytry Lubinets claimed that it was a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Senior Ukrainian officials claimed, without providing additional evidence, that the man was an unarmed prisoner of war killed by Russian soldiers. The man in the video was not armed.
The 30th mechanized brigade called him Timofey Shadura on its Facebook page. The identification is based on preliminary information and is not final, the report said.
Shadura has been missing for just over a month after he disappeared during fierce fighting in the Bakhmut region of eastern Ukraine, the report said. The city was a combat hotspot how war continues into the second year.
His identity should be confirmed once the body is returned from Russian-occupied territory, the report added, although it did not say when that might happen.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian military gave the same name of the dead soldier, saying that it was “according to preliminary information.”
In the 12-second video, a man in combat uniform is seen in a wooded area smoking a cigarette.
Behind the scenes, someone speaks Russian. The man then says “Glory to Ukraine” and is shot by a volley, he falls into a hole in the ground, in a voice over he says “Die” followed by swearing.
The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the video, any details about when it was recorded or anything about the people involved.
Questions sent by AP to the Russian military about the clip were not immediately answered.
The video spread widely in social networks of Ukraine and caused a stir.
In his late-night video message on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “I want us all together, in unity, to respond to (the soldier’s) words: “Glory to the hero! Glory to the heroes! Glory to Ukraine!” And we will find the killers.”
Moscow also expressed suspicions about the treatment of Russian prisoners of war by the Ukrainian military.
Last November, Ukraine announced that it would open video footage investigation A video circulated on Russian social media that Moscow claims shows Ukrainian soldiers killing Russian soldiers who may have tried to surrender after one of the men appeared to refuse to lay down his weapon and opened fire.
In other developments:
- Ukraine and Russia completed another exchange of prisoners. Assistant to the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak reported that 130 Ukrainian soldiers returned from Russian captivity, most of them with serious injuries. The Ministry of Defense of Russia reported that 90 Russian soldiers have returned from the territory controlled by Kyiv. Since the beginning of the war, 1,993 people have returned from captivity, Lubinets said.
- UN Secretary General António Guterres was on his way to Ukraine for a meeting with Zelensky on Wednesday in Kyiv. The two are expected to discuss extending an agreement that allows Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports and Russia to export food and fertilizer.
- The administration of the President of Ukraine reported on Tuesday that at least one civilian was killed and 11 others were injured in Ukraine over the past day. Fierce fighting continues in the region for the key city of Bakhmut, where less than 4,000 civilians remain from the pre-war population of 70,000, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Verashchuk said.
- The parliamentary delegation of Hungary on Tuesday, during a visit to Denmark, declared that it supports Sweden’s membership in NATO. Some Hungarian lawmakers have refused to back Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO because of what they called “brazen lies” from Stockholm and Helsinki about the state of democracy in Hungary.