International

Zelensky: Video of purported beheading of Ukrainian soldier not isolated incident

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a video that purportedly shows the beheading of a Ukrainian soldier by Russian forces is not an isolated incident. 

Major news outlets have not confirmed the veracity of the video, but it appears to show a group of Russian soldiers using a knife to cut off the head of a Ukrainian captive soldier who was screaming. The video began appearing online on Tuesday. 

Zelensky said in an address that the world must see the soldier’s execution to understand “what kind of creatures” the Russian soldiers are and “how easily these beasts kill.” 

“This is a video of Russia trying to make just that the new norm. Such a habit of destroying life. This is not an accident. This is not an episode. This was the case earlier. This was the case in Bucha. Thousands of times,” Zelensky said. 

Bucha, a town outside the capital Kyiv, faced harsh treatment from Russian invaders early in the war. Hundreds of dead bodies were found burned and piled on top of each other after Russia withdrew from the town. 

Although the video just appeared online, it is unclear when it was taken and if it is legitimate. 

The Guardian reported that the video includes green foliage and therefore might have been filmed last summer. A second video appears to show two beheaded bodies of Ukrainian soldiers lying next to a destroyed military vehicle, with someone saying “They killed them. Someone came up to them. They came up to them and cut their heads off,” according to the outlet. 

Zelensky said “everyone” and every leader must react to the video as it should not be forgotten. 

“We are not going to forget anything. Neither are we going to forgive the murderers. There will be legal responsibility for everything. The defeat of terror is necessary. No one will understand if the leaders don’t react. Action is required now!” he said. 

Zelensky said the Ukrainian people should focus on the frontline as much as possible to try to push Russian forces out of Ukrainian territory. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the video images are horrible, but they must be reviewed to confirm their authenticity. 

A report from the United Nations released last month found that Russia has launched indiscriminate attacks against Ukraine, “likely” violated international humanitarian law and committed widespread torture against Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. 

The report concluded that Ukrainian soldiers have committed a small amount of war crimes, but the vast majority have been committed by Russian forces.

Tags Bucha Russia-Ukraine war Russian war crimes Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky

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