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Ukraine's top prosecutor said on Monday that a criminal investigation had been launched into what he called the "brutal and brazen shooting of an unarmed person" depicted in a video shared on social media, and he accused Russia of ignoring the laws of war.
A 12-second video widely shared on Twitter shows an apparently unarmed man in uniform with a Ukrainian flag insignia on his arm standing smoking in a wooded area. The man says, "Glory to Ukraine." Multiple shots are heard coming from an unseen shooter or shooters, and the man slumps to the ground as bullets appear to hit his body. A voice is heard taunting him in Russian.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the authenticity, date or location of the video, which is of poor quality. Russia's Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a query about the video. Ukrainian authorities did not say where or when the shooting occurred.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, noting only that the video had appeared on Monday, said it showed Russian occupiers brutally killing a soldier.
He added, "I want us all in unity to respond to his words, 'Glory to the hero. Glory to the heroes. Glory to Ukraine.' And we will find the murderers."
The head of Ukraine's presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said the man was a Ukrainian prisoner of war and that the incident was part of a "deliberate policy of terror" by Russia.
Killing a prisoner of war is another RF war crime. Those are an element of a methodic policy of terror, which is whitewashed by Kremlin propaganda with its myths about "Nazis".There will be punishment for every such war crime. No one will dodge justice. We'll find them all.
"The murder of a captive is the latest Russian war crime," Yermak wrote in a tweet. "For every such war crime there will be retribution."
Ukrainian and Western authorities say there is evidence for thousands of war crimes committed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. Russia has repeatedly denied that its forces have committed atrocities or attacked civilians in Ukraine.
Andriy Kostin, Ukraine's prosecutor general, said on his Telegram channel that Ukraine's security service had registered the shooting as a criminal case under a part of the country's criminal code that covers violations of the laws and customs of war.
"Even the war has its own laws," he said, adding that prosecutors from his office would lead the case. "There are rules of international law systematically ignored by the Russian criminal regime. But sooner or later, there will be punishment."