Ukraine crisis: Russian commanders kill their own wounded troops
Russian commanders are slaughtering their own young soldiers rather than taking them for medical treatment in the latest sign of growing barbarity among Vladimir Putin’s troops.
In a chilling video, soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces recall how a serviceman who was struggling to walk was shot in the head by a battalion commander.
And a lieutenant colonel was accused of killing “four or five” injured soldiers in a similarly ruthless fashion.
“They were all young men,” one of the captured Russians told Ukrainian journalist Volodymyr Zolkin.
Another captive says: “They could have been rescued, given help, taken out of there. He simply shot them dead.”
Russian forces are resorting to increasingly desperate measures as they come under pressure to advance on major Ukrainian cities.
Ukrainians have managed to repel the onslaught – and on Saturday, soldiers declared victory in the city of Kharkiv when they pushed Russian troops all the way out to the national border.
The UK Ministry of Defence believes the Russians have so far lost one third of the ground combat force committed to the invasion and have failed to advance significantly over the last month while suffering many casualties.
Ukrainian authorities estimate that at least 27,700 Russian troops have been killed since February, although the true figure is difficult to determine. In the video of Russian soldiers, recorded for Open Media Ukraine, one prisoner of war said commanders had “finished off their wounded”.
When asked what he meant, he added: “Just like... a wounded soldier is lying on the ground, and a battalion’s commander shoots him dead with a gun.”
Describing one incident, he said: “It was a young man, he was wounded. He was on the ground. He was asked if he could walk, (he said no) so he was shot dead.”
Moscow has already been accused of showing callous disregard for the welfare of the nation’s own troops, amid suggestions that vehicle-mounted incinerators – dubbed “mobile crematoriums” – are being used to burn the dead.
Russian troops have also been accused of using the incinerators to dispose of slaughtered Ukrainian civilians from besieged cities including Mariupol.
On Monday, Russia’s defence ministry claimed an agreement had been reached to safely remove injured Ukrainian resistance fighters holed up in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.
Hundreds of troops and mercenaries remain trapped in the steelworks after refusing to surrender despite Vladimir Putin claiming victory over the city last month. In the east of the country, troops defending Kharkiv, its second largest city, recorded a video declaring victory on Saturday after repelling Russian soldiers back to the border.
The battalion recorded a message to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying they had replaced a territorial marker on the frontier painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
“Mr President, we have reached it, we are at the border,” a commander said.
However, at least ten civilians were killed by Russian shelling in the city of Severodonetsk in east Ukraine.
And on Monday, the UK Ministry of Defence warned that Belarus was deploying forces along its border with Ukraine.
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