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May, 21
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    Ukraine Vows To Hunt Down Russians Who Killed An Unarmed Soldier Smoking A Cigarette In His Trench

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    A video recently went viral on social media showing an unarmed Ukrainian soldier being shot by Russians from a close range using automatic weapons. The video has since caused widespread fear in Ukraine, which has vowed to hunt down the killers.

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    The Ukrainian soldier can be seen in the footage smoking a cigarette in a trench. Just before he is purportedly shot at by Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian prisoner of war chants, “Glory to Ukraine.” Notably, ‘Slava Ukraini’ has become a war cry for Ukrainians defending against the Russian invasion.

    As the prisoner of war (POW) is shot dead, one of the shooters, believed to be a Russian soldier, is heard yelling “die” and uttering an expletive. The suspected murderer or murderers, who could incidentally not be seen in the video, are still at large.

    The video has led to outrage against what is termed as Russian war crimes skyrocketing since it surfaced on the internet. On March 7, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “We will find the murderers.”

    In the aftermath of the incident, President Zelensky said in an address, “the occupiers” killed “a warrior who bravely said to their faces: ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ I want us all to respond to his words together, in unity: ‘Glory to the Hero! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to Ukraine!’”

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    The alleged killing has caused an uproar among the Ukrainian military’s ranks and files. The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said: “The shooting of an unarmed prisoner is a cynical and brazen disregard for the norms of international humanitarian law and the customs of war. This is what worthless murderers do, not warriors. The Russian occupiers have once again shown that their main goal in Ukraine is the brutal extermination of Ukrainians.”

    The Ukrainian military has since identified the slain Ukrainian soldier as Tymofiy Shadura, citing preliminary information. He was last spotted on February 3, according to the 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade, in the vicinity of Bakhmut, an eastern city witnessing a fierce battle.

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    Yet, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the soldier’s identification due to contradicting claims from other sources in Ukraine. EurAsian Times could not independently verify the identity of the soldier allegedly killed by Moscow. There is no information on when and where the video was shot.

    “Currently, the body of our serviceman is in the temporarily occupied territory,” the statement said. It added the identification could be completed after the body was returned.

    Before the soldier was named, the slain soldier’s sister reportedly told the BBC: “My brother would certainly be capable of standing up to the Russians like that. He never hid the truth and certainly wouldn’t do so in front of the enemy.”

    Russia is yet to make an official statement on this.

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    Russia Has Been Accused Of War Crimes

    Since the Russian invasion was launched in February last year, Ukraine and its Western allies have repeatedly accused Russian forces of committing war crimes on a massive scale.

    Moscow refutes these allegations and has accused Ukraine of committing crimes against humanity in the ongoing conflict. At the end of January 2023, Andriy Kostin, the general prosecutor of Ukraine, said that local authorities had documented more than 65,000 war crimes committed by the Russians.

    “We have all witnessed with horror the evidence of atrocities committed in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Izium, Kherson, Kharkiv regions, and other liberated cities and towns,” Kostin said, highlighting that Ukrainian authorities had discovered mass burial sites in areas occupied by Russian troops.

    “These crimes are not incidental or accidental. They include indiscriminate shelling of civilians, willful killing, torture, conflict-related sexual violence, looting, and forced displacement on a massive scale.”

    Further, previous media reports also indicated that in the absence of a mechanism that would bring Russia to justice for its alleged war crimes against Russia, the United States was considering a means under which it would appoint an interim prosecutor to begin gathering evidence of potential crimes that may be used later.

    The US-led NATO, which is massively backing Ukraine against the Russian invasion, has also accused Russia of committing war crimes for the latter’s repeated attacks on Kyiv’s civilian settlements and its energy infrastructure amid a very harsh winter that just went by.

    The recent video can make the situation worse. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that the footage was “another proof this war is genocidal,” calling for an “immediate investigation” by the International Criminal Court.

    With a devastating battle underway in Bakhmut that has reportedly reduced the city to rubble, the video could exponentially add to the aggression among Ukrainian troops defending the country for more than a year.

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