Ukraine’s outrage grows after video shows beheading of soldier, probe on | Top points
Ukraine on Wednesday initiated a probe into a gruesome video that allegedly showed the beheading of a Ukrainian soldier. The act is the latest accusation of atrocities said to have been committed by Russia, since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
The video, which had gone viral on social media, drew outrage from officials in Kyiv, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as international organisations. The Kremlin called the footage “horrible” but said it needed to be verified, news agency Associated Press reported.
The video appeared to show a man in green fatigues wearing a yellow armband, typically donned by Ukrainian fighters. His screams were heard before another man in camouflage uses a knife to decapitate him.
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A third man, shown in the video, held up a flak jacket apparently belonging to the man being beheaded. All three men speak Russian.
According to the United Nations and rights groups, Russians have committed widespread abuses and alleged war crimes since their forces invaded Ukraine in Feb 2022. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of targeting apartment buildings and other civilian structures and equipment in its strikes, and images of hundreds of dead civilians in the streets and in mass graves in Bucha after Russian forces withdrew from the city have horrified the world.
Kyiv denies Wagner Bakhmut claim
Meanwhile, a Russian defense official claimed that fighters from Russia’s paramilitary Wagner group have seized three districts of Bakhmut, the embattled city that for months has been the focus of Moscow’s grinding campaign in the east.
Ukraine and Russia attacked each other on Wednesday over how much the Kremlin’s forces control the city of Bakhmut, for months the focal point of Moscow’s bid to advance through eastern Ukraine, news agency Reuters reported.
Ukraine’s military on Wednesday squashed a claim by Russian entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin that his Wagner mercenary group had seized more than 80% of Bakhmut, saying it controlled “considerably” more than 20% of the city.
Russia’s Defence Ministry retorted that Wagner forces had captured three city blocks. And Russian forces, it said, had struck Ukrainian army reserves trying to break through.
After pulling back from an attempted advance on Kyiv last year in what Moscow calls a “special military operation”, Russia’s military has focused mainly on capturing Bakhmut as a stepping stone to advancing on cities further west in the Donetsk region.