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UN accuses Moscow and Kiev of executing prisoners of war


Without charge and without trial: According to a UN investigation, dozens of prisoners of war have been arbitrarily executed on both sides since the beginning of the war of aggression against Ukraine. Kiev stressed that there was no evidence to support the allegations.

The United Nations has accused both Russia and Ukraine of arbitrary executions of prisoners of war without trial. One is “deeply concerned” about these executions, said the head of the UN mission to monitor human rights in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner Presentation of a UN report in Kiew.

Both sides have executed prisoners without trial or charge. So far, up to 25 Russian and 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war have been killed in Ukraine. The crimes were “often committed immediately after being captured on the battlefield,” said Bogner. The UN is aware of ongoing investigations by the Ukrainian side in five cases with 22 victims. However, no convictions of perpetrators are known.

Lubinets: No evidence of killing of Russian prisoners of war

The Foreign Ministry in Kiev thanked the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine for its investigations, but warned against any attempt “that could be interpreted as equating the victim with the aggressor.” It is “unacceptable” to blame the “victim of aggression”.

The Ukrainian human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets also contradicted the UN statements. There is no evidence of the killing of Russian prisoners of war. Ukraine does not violate the rights of prisoners and abides by international agreements, he told the Telegram news channel.

Bogner and her colleagues never addressed the allegations when they met him. At the same time, the Human Rights Commissioner pointed out a large number of Russian war crimes in Ukraine. According to the UN, eleven of the 15 known executions were carried out by the Wagner mercenary group on the Russian side. In early March, a video of an alleged execution of a Ukrainian prisoner of war caused widespread outrage around the world.

Russia does not grant access to prisoners of war

According to Bogner, the UN interviewed more than 400 prisoners of war. Prisoners from both sides have been questioned, but Russia does not give the UN access to Ukrainian POWs.

Of just over 200 former prisoners of Russia who were interviewed, the majority reported abuse before their internment. During interrogations, the detainees were beaten, hooked up to electricity, shot, stabbed and threatened with mock executions by the Russian military and secret service. The conditions of detention are also very bad on the Russian side. At least five prisoners of war each died because of inadequate medical treatment or from the abuse.

Executions and mistreatment of civilians

The United Nations has registered more than 8,300 civilians killed in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has now lasted more than 13 months. However, due to the lack of access to the Russian-occupied areas, the organization assumes that the number of victims will be far higher. “More than 90 percent of civilian deaths were caused by rockets, explosive weapons, mines and explosive residues,” said Bogner.

Executions of civilians and arbitrary arrests have been documented in Russian-occupied territories. At least 621 people have either disappeared or been violently arrested by the Russian occupiers. Ninety percent of those released reported torture and ill-treatment.

UN accuses both sides of executions in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

Darko Jakovljevic, ARD Kiev, tagesschau24 8:00 p.m., March 25, 2023