Ukraine has vowed to take revenge against Russia, holding the Kremlin responsible for a captured soldier being riddled with bullets in a viral video after speaking a pro-Ukrainian slogan.
The footage apparently shows a detained Ukrainian combatant standing in a shallow trench, smoking, and being shot to death from multiple automatic weapons after saying “Glory to Ukraine”.
The 12-second video then showed the unarmed man slumped to the ground as bullets appear to hit his body. A voice is heard saying “Die b***h” in Russian.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the video showed Russian troops killing a soldier, and the man was quickly hailed by Ukrainians as a hero across social media, where many users posted “Heroyam Slava” in response.
“The deceased is a serviceman of the 30th separate mechanised brigade — Tymofiy Mykolayovych Shadura,” the Ukrainian military said on Tuesday, citing initial findings.
Shadura has been missing since February 3 amid fighting near the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and his identity would be confirmed when his remains were returned, the military added.
“Revenge for our hero’s killing is inevitable,” it added.
Brigade spokesman Anatoliy Yavorsky said Shadura hailed from the western region of Zhytomyr and was mobilised in December.
In an address to the nation on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the video showed Russian forces “brutally killing” a Ukrainian serviceman.
“We will find the murderers,” he vowed.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for the International Criminal Court to probe the footage.
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Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said Ukraine’s security service had registered the shooting as a criminal case under a part of the criminal code that covers violations of war laws and customs.
Ukrainian and Western authorities say there is evidence for thousands of war crimes committed in Ukraine since Russia’s military operation in February, 2022.
Russia has repeatedly denied that its forces have committed atrocities or attacked civilians.
Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov, however, identified the deceased man as 42-year-old Oleksandr Matsiyevsky from the northern city of Nizhyn.
Butusov posted a picture on Facebook of Matsiyevsky, who bore a resemblance to the Ukrainian soldier from the viral video.
The prominent reporter said Matsiyevsky, who had a 19-year-old son, went to the front voluntarily. He was buried in Nizhyn last month, he added.
The head of the Wagner mercenary group, which has spearheaded Russia’s assault on Bakhmut, said there was no evidence to link his fighters to the killing.
But Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said that if details emerged linking his group to the incident, then “we will certainly look into it in detail”.
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