UN expresses concern over summary executions by Russian and Ukrainian forces on the battlefield

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25th March 2023 – (Kyiv) The United Nations has recently expressed deep concern regarding the summary executions of prisoners of war during the ongoing conflict between Russian and Ukrainian forces. According to Matilda Bogner, the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, up to 25 summary executions of Russian prisoners of war and persons hors de combat by the Ukrainian armed forces have been documented. She also raised concerns about the alleged executions of 15 Ukrainian prisoners by Russian armed forces. Bogner revealed this information during a press conference in Kyiv on Friday.

These summary executions, as per Bogner, often took place immediately upon capture on the battlefield. The UN official disclosed that the organization had documented up to 25 such executions by the Ukrainian armed forces. She further added that, while the Ukrainian authorities were investigating five cases involving 22 victims, there had been no prosecution of the perpetrators.

Additionally, Bogner expressed concern over the alleged executions of 15 Ukrainian prisoners by Russian armed forces. She singled out the Wagner mercenary group, which she claimed was responsible for 11 of those killings. The Wagner group claims to be leading Russia’s assault for Bakhmut, the longest and bloodiest battle of the war. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been ongoing for over a year, with both sides accusing each other of mistreating prisoners of war.

In response to the UN report, Kyiv’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that it is unacceptable to hold the “victim of aggression” responsible. The ministry has also accused Russia of perpetrating war crimes and violating international humanitarian law. The conflict in Ukraine began in 2014 after the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea. The war has claimed the lives of over 13,000 people and displaced over 1.5 million since.