Russia-Ukraine war live: Kyiv accuses Russia of executing surrendering soldiers | Ukraine – Freedom Voice


Execution of surrendering soldiers a ‘war crime’, Ukraine says

Kyiv accused Russia on Saturday of committing a war crime by executing Ukrainian soldiers who had signalled their intention to surrender.

A short video posted on Telegram shows two men coming out of a shelter, one with his hands above his head, before lying on the ground in front of another group of soldiers.

This is followed by what appears to be gunfire, and smoke appears, before the video cuts off abruptly.

These undated images were aired on social networks as having been filmed near Avdiivka, a town in eastern Ukraine where fighting is raging.

But neither their location nor their authenticity could be confirmed.

Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets, denounced the events as a “war crime”.

“Today, a video of the execution by Russian servicemen of Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered as prisoners appeared online! This is another violation of the Geneva conventions and disrespect for international humanitarian law!” he wrote on Telegram.

“The Russian side shows its terrorist face again and again!” he added.

Lubinets said the Ukrainian soldiers “were disarmed, and their hands were raised … They did not pose any threat! The Russian side had to capture them and give them the status of prisoners of war.”

Key events

Ukraine has claimed Russia has now lost 332,040 combat personnel since the beginning of the invasion on February 24 last year.

According to Ukrainian millitary figures, which have not been independently verified, Russia has lost 930 combatants in the last 24 hours.

It claims Russia has lost over 10,000 armed combat vehicles, almost 8,000 artillery and 5,995 drones.

Russia launches 12 drones and a cruise missile at Ukraine

Russia launched 12 drones and a cruise missile at Ukraine overnight, with Ukraine’s air defence systems destroying 10 drones before they reached their targets, Ukraine’s air force said on Sunday.

The cruise missile was not destroyed but did not reach its target, the air force said without giving further detail. It did not say what happened to the two drones that there were not destroyed.

The Iranian-made Shahed drones were headed towards Ukraine’s north-west, the air force said. Most were downed in the Mykolaiv region in Ukraine’s south.

There were no immediate reports of damage from falling debris or the drones that were not destroyed.

Russia eases attacks on Avdiivka

Russian forces have eased attacks on the beleaguered eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka and unofficial reports from the region suggested they had failed to capture the devastated town of Maryinka to the south-west.

Russia’s military has set its sights on seizing Avdiivka and its vast coking plant since mid-October.

Russian reports on Friday suggested Moscow’s troops had taken control of Maryinka, 40km to the south-west, which has been engulfed in fighting for more than a year. But unofficial Ukrainian reports on Saturday said its forces were holding some districts.

The Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun told national television that Russian attacks on Avdiivka had halved over the past 24 hours, largely as a result of heavy losses.

“The coking plant is controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces,” Shtupun said. “Enemy forces are trying to make their way inside, but are suffering losses in infantry and equipment.”

Fighting was still intense, he said, in an adjacent area outside the town centre known as the “industrial zone”. Russia’s popular war blog Rybar said the zone had fallen under Russian control.

Vitaliy Barabash, the head of the town’s military administration, told Channel 24 television that Avdiivka was “starting to look like Maryinka, a settlement that basically no longer exists. It has been razed to its foundations.”

There were no official Ukrainian reports on Maryinka, but the military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said reports of its capture by Russian troops were untrue.

“We acknowledge that there was an advance there of the Russian military,” Zhdanov said in an online presentation. “But the south-western and north-western parts of the town are under the control of Ukrainian forces.”

Russia’s defence ministry made no mention of Maryinka.

Another Ukrainian spokesperson, Volodymyr Fitio, told national television that Kyiv’s forces had repelled 21 Russian attacks in areas surrounding Bakhmut. The town, also shattered by months of fighting, was captured by Russian forces in May, but Ukrainian troops have since taken back nearby villages.

Ukrainian border guards have prevented the ex-president Petro Poroshenko from leaving the country because he planned to meet the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, Kyiv’s security services said.

Poroshenko, in power from 2014 to 2019, had planned a number of high-level meetings abroad but said on Friday his trip had to be cancelled because he was turned away at the border.

In a statement on Saturday, Ukraine’s SBU security services said the former leader was turned back due to his planned meeting with Orbán, an EU leader chided by Kyiv for his pro-Russian stance.

The SBU said Orbán “systematically expresses an anti-Ukrainian position” and alleged Moscow planned to use the meeting “in its information and psychological operations against Ukraine”.

The former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.
The former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. Photograph: Miguel A Lopes/EPA

In response to the SBU statement, the Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács wrote on X that Hungary “does not wish to play any part in President Zelenskiy’s internal political struggles”.

“News reports such as this and these political purges are yet another indication that Ukraine is not yet ready for European Union membership,” he added.

On Friday, Orbán said the EU should propose a “strategic partnership agreement” with Ukraine instead of starting membership talks with the war-torn country.

Poroshenko had been blocked from leaving the country before, including in May last year when he planned to travel to a Nato parliamentary assembly meeting in Lithuania.

After leaving office, Poroshenko was investigated under treason and corruption charges that he argued were orchestrated by his successor and political rival, the current president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The two locked horns in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential elections and Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party is the second biggest party in parliament, after Zelenskiy’s.

Russian shelling killed one civilian and destroyed two houses in the eastern Ukrainian town of Chasiv Yar on Saturday, the interior ministry said.

Chasiv Yar is less than 5km west of the frontline city of Bakhmut, which Russia claimed to have captured in May after a devastating, months-long assault.

“A civilian was killed and two houses were destroyed in Chasiv Yar during the enemy shelling,” Ukraine’s interior ministry said on social media.

Ukrainian intelligence said that a “resistance movement” in the occupied city of Melitopol damaged an enemy fuel tanker and “killed several Russian occupiers” on Friday.

Execution of surrendering soldiers a ‘war crime’, Ukraine says

Kyiv accused Russia on Saturday of committing a war crime by executing Ukrainian soldiers who had signalled their intention to surrender.

A short video posted on Telegram shows two men coming out of a shelter, one with his hands above his head, before lying on the ground in front of another group of soldiers.

This is followed by what appears to be gunfire, and smoke appears, before the video cuts off abruptly.

These undated images were aired on social networks as having been filmed near Avdiivka, a town in eastern Ukraine where fighting is raging.

But neither their location nor their authenticity could be confirmed.

Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets, denounced the events as a “war crime”.

“Today, a video of the execution by Russian servicemen of Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered as prisoners appeared online! This is another violation of the Geneva conventions and disrespect for international humanitarian law!” he wrote on Telegram.

“The Russian side shows its terrorist face again and again!” he added.

Lubinets said the Ukrainian soldiers “were disarmed, and their hands were raised … They did not pose any threat! The Russian side had to capture them and give them the status of prisoners of war.”

Welcome and summary

Hello and thanks for joining the Guardian’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Russian forces have eased attacks on the beleaguered eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka on Saturday and have reportedly failed to capture another devastated town 40km to the south-west.

The Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun told national television that Russian attacks on Avdiivka had halved over the past 24 hours, largely as a result of heavy losses in “infantry and equipment”.

More on this shortly. In other news:

  • Russian authorities are attempting to quell dissent from the wives of soldiers deployed in Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said. The MoD said in its daily intelligence briefing that some were being paid off while others have been discredited online.

  • Ukraine has become progressively stronger over the past year and will soon be able to reopen Kyiv’s international airport, Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said.

  • The Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant lost its power supply after the last remaining line to it from Ukrainian-controlled territory was disrupted, but it has since been repaired. Ukraine’s energy ministry said.

  • OSCE conference participants have accused Moscow of undermining the Vienna-based organisation. Latvia’s representative, Katrina Kaktina, accused Russia of obstructing the OSCE agenda and of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

  • Ukraine is developing plans to allow spectators to attend sports stadiums. Its sports ministry is developing a system that will allow fans to attend stadiums and watch games that have been off limits to the public since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

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