Video alleges use of Ukrainian POWs as human shields by Russian soldiers

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.15 - 2023 12:20 PM CET


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A disturbing video has emerged, indicating that Russian soldiers may have used Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) as human shields during combat on the Zaporizhzhia front. This report comes from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Ukrainian service, which based its findings on footage captured by a drone operated by a unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU).

The video, approximately 19 minutes in length, was shot in the vicinity of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region. Journalists have verified the location of the footage but have not disclosed it for security reasons.

In the footage, a group of Russian soldiers, armed and prepared for battle, are observed advancing towards Ukrainian positions. Notably, in front of them are unarmed individuals walking with their hands raised.

In a particularly striking moment, one of the armed soldiers is seen physically using an unarmed person as a shield, holding him by the shoulder.

The unarmed individuals in the video are dressed differently from the armed soldiers, indicating they could be Ukrainian POWs. The footage shows the Russian soldiers periodically shooting from behind these unarmed individuals toward AFU positions.

As the encounter escalates into a fight between the advancing and defending forces, one of the presumed POWs is seen separated from the group and lying on the ground. RFE/RL reports that the shot that hit him appears to have been fired by a Russian soldier.

Ukrainian military personnel who provided the video to journalists described the actions depicted as reconnaissance by combat, aimed at identifying the firing capabilities of AFU positions.

Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner, commenting on the footage, stated that this is the first such video he has seen during the war.

He emphasized that the Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits the use of POWs in combat and mandates that prisoners, once granted official POW status, must be kept in specially created camps away from the frontline. This incident, if confirmed, would constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Watch the video right here:

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