Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of 'genocide'


  • The video shows a soldier in Ukrainian combat fatigues being shot after saying "Slava Ukraini," or "Glory to Ukraine"
  • Zelensky promised that Ukraine would "find the murderers"
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the ICC to investigate the "heinous war crime"

Ukraine has lashed out against Russia after a video circulated showing an alleged captive Ukrainian soldier being executed seemingly by Russian forces.

The footage showed an unarmed soldier in Ukrainian combat fatigues, who had apparently been captured by Russian forces, smoking a cigarette on the battlefield, CNN reported.

The soldier is then seen pulling the cigarette from his mouth and blowing out the smoke. He can be heard saying "Slava Ukraini," or "Glory to Ukraine," before being shot to death by fighters who were not captured on camera.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the incident in his address Monday.

"Today, a video has emerged of the occupiers brutally killing a warrior who bravely said to their faces: 'Glory to Ukraine!'" Zelensky said.

"The occupier kills for the very fact that we are Ukrainians. For the mere word about Ukraine. For our dream of Ukraine. For our lives - the lives of Ukrainians," he added.

The Ukrainian leader vowed to "find the murderers" responsible for the death of the Ukrainian serviceman and honored those who perished fighting Russian forces throughout the now-1-year-old war.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the video was "proof" of the "genocidal" nature of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He also urged Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to launch an investigation into Russia's "war crime."

"It is imperative that Karim Khan QC launches an immediate ICC investigation into this heinous war crime. Perpetrators must face justice," Kuleba wrote on Twitter Monday.

Ukrainian Parliament commissioner for human rights Dmytro Lubinets echoed Kuleba's remarks, calling the incident "evidence of yet another Russian war crime." He wrote on Telegram that the execution of the Ukrainian soldier violates the Geneva Conventions.

Andriy Yermak, Zelensky's chief of staff, also said that the incident was a "war crime."

International Business Times could not independently verify who the executed prisoner of war is, where he was shot and who shot him.

The ill-treatment and alleged executions of POWs had been documented by both countries and human rights watchdogs throughout the war.

In July 2022, more than 50 Ukrainian POWs were killed in an alleged Russian attack on a prisoner camp in Russian-occupied Donbas, Ukrainian news outlet Kyiv Independent reported.

The Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Directorate called the alleged Russian attack an "act of terrorism" and said it was committed by Russia's Wagner mercenary group. The intelligence directorate said the attack against captive Ukrainians was carried out without the consent of the Russian Defense Ministry leadership.

In November 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said they had interviewed 159 prisoners of war held by Russia and 175 male prisoners of war held by Ukraine.

The human rights monitors said that captive Ukrainians were subjected by Russia to "prolonged beatings, threats, electric shocks and dog attacks." Both men and women prisoners reported being subjected to various forms of sexual violence, according to the group.

However, the U.N. mission said that Ukraine was also subjecting its captive Russians to abuse and intimidation.

Interviewed Russian POWs reported summary executions and torture of those who are being interrogated.

Matilda Bogner, the head of the U.N. human rights mission, urged both countries to respect the human rights of all prisoners of war and to treat them humanely at all times.

BUCHA, UKRAINE - APRIL 23: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content) Ukrainian morticians look at body bags full of corpses, as a morgue overflows with victims who died during the Russian military presence in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, Ukraine, on April 23, 2022. Ukrainian officials and volunteers are beginning the work of identifying the dead and gathering evidence for war crimes accusations, and say that more than 1,000 civilians lost their lives when Russian troops occupied districts northwest of the capital for weeks after a February 24 invasion. Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images