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Alleged Beheadings in Ukraine: What We Know So Far

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A pro-Kremlin blogger posted a shocking video purporting to show a surviving Ukrainian soldier’s bullet, and it began circulating on social media on Tuesday.

The video clip shows a Ukrainian soldier being beheaded by Russian soldiers.

The footage emerged days after a separate video was posted on pro-Russian social media of what appeared to be the decapitated bodies of two Ukrainian soldiers.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest video, which Al Jazeera has been unable to independently verify.

What happens in the video?

Another man wearing a green military uniform and a yellow armband worn by Ukrainian forces, is approached by another man wearing camouflage uniform and a white band around his leg, normally worn by Russian forces, and decapitates him with a large knife.

A third man then lifts the slashed soldier’s flak jacket. There are three beeps audible in the clip, indicating that the Ukrainian soldier was alive when the attack took place.

When and where were they filmed?

It is not known exactly where the footage was filmed as the video does not contain any identifiable landmarks. It appears that the soldiers are in a wooded area.

The timing of the attack is also unclear. The state of the foliage does not reflect the current weather conditions in Ukraine. The appearance of green leaves may indicate that the attack took place last summer, but that is still speculation at this point.

The video appears to have been first shared on messaging app Telegram by a pro-Kremlin blogger.

What did Ukraine say about the video?

The video angered senior Ukrainian officials.

“There is something that no one in the world can ignore: how easy it is to kill these monsters,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He said Ukraine would not “forget” or “forgive” the incident, adding: “There will be legal responsibility for everything.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the “horrific” act and called Russia “worse than ISIS” on Twitter. He also called for “Russia to be held accountable for its crimes” and for his expulsion from the United Nations.

Mykhailo Podolak, Zelensky’s advisor, said on Twitter that the latest video proved “once again” the bloodshed of Russia.

Ukraine’s State Security Service has launched an investigation into the video, and Ukrainian mediator Dmytro Lubinets has also asked the UN Human Rights Committee to investigate.

What was the international reaction?

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it was “appalled”.

EU spokeswoman Nabila Mesrali said that, if confirmed, the video would be “another stark reminder of the inhumane nature of Russia’s aggression”.

“The European Union reiterates its firm commitment to holding accountable the perpetrators of war crimes and those complicit in the Russian war,” she said.

France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs expressed its indignation, adding that “those responsible for all crimes committed in Ukraine must be held accountable for their actions.”

The Kremlin called the video “terrible” and said it needed verification. Moscow has denied in the past that its forces committed any atrocities during the conflict.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office announced that it had opened an investigation into the video.

She added, “In order to assess the credibility of these documents and take the appropriate decision, they were referred to the investigation authorities for verification.”

what happened after that?

A number of disturbing videos have gone viral during the war, which began on February 24, 2022.

In March, video showed Oleksandr Matsiyevsky, an unarmed Ukrainian prisoner of war smoking in a trench, being shot with automatic weapons.

Ukraine opened an investigation at the time, and Foreign Minister Kuleba called on the ICC to open an “immediate investigation”.

Last July, a video emerged showing the castration of a Ukrainian prisoner of war in the Russian-occupied Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities have since identified the man.

He also accused Kyiv of executing prisoners of war. In November, a video emerged showing Russian soldiers shot dead after trying to surrender.

Numerous investigations are usually conducted after each incident, but little can be done to bring the perpetrators to justice in the current situation.

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