Ukraine compares Russia to ISIS as beheading video circulates

Ukraine on Wednesday compared Russia to the Islamic State and called on the International Criminal Court to investigate after a video emerged online showing apparent Russian soldiers filming themselves beheading a Ukrainian captive with a knife.

Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity or provenance of the social media video, which showed a uniformed man beheading a man wearing the yellow armband used by Ukrainian soldiers.

The Kremlin described the video as “horrifying” but said its authenticity needed to be verified. Moscow has in the past denied that its troops committed any atrocities during the conflict.

“There is something that no one in the world can ignore: the ease with which these beasts kill,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message.

“There will be legal liability for everything. The defeat of terror is necessary.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said on Twitter: “A gruesome video of Russian troops beheading a Ukrainian POW is circulating online.

“It is absurd that Russia, which is worse than ISIS, is chairing the UNSC,” he said, referring to the UN Security Council, where Russia took over the rotating presidency this month. -this.

“Russian terrorists must be expelled from Ukraine and the UN and held accountable for their crimes.”

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants were known to have released videos of beheadings of captives when they controlled swaths of those countries from 2014 to 2017.

“First of all, in the world of counterfeits we live in, we have to check the veracity of these images,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a briefing in Moscow.

“So it could be a pretext to check whether it’s true or not, whether it happened, and if it happened, where and by whom.”

Call for inquiry

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on the International Criminal Court to “immediately investigate another atrocity committed by the Russian military”.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar told netizens not to publicly name the soldier until his identity has been officially established by law enforcement. She urged people to stop sharing the video online.

“Remember, the enemy wants to scare us. He wants to weaken us,” she said.

Ukraine’s Internal Security Agency said it had opened an investigation into a suspected war crime because of the video.

“Yesterday, a video appeared on the Internet showing how the Russian occupiers show their bestial nature – cruelly torturing a Ukrainian prisoner and cutting off his head,” the SBU agency wrote on Telegram.

In Geneva, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it was appalled by what it said were “particularly horrific” videos circulating on social media.

In addition to the alleged execution, another video shows the mutilated bodies of apparent Ukrainian POWs, he added.

“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident,” he said in a statement. “The latest incidents must also be properly investigated and the perpetrators must be held accountable.”

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