The video shows a group of people believed to be Russian soldiers being interrogated and beaten – RT . Screenshot
Because of the shocking content, Russian media such as Russia Today and Western media including CNN, have announced that they will not re-publish the clip.
According to CNN, a group of supposed Ukrainian soldiers can be heard claiming to have captured a Russian reconnaissance group operating in Olkhovka, a settlement in the city of Kharkov about 32km from the Russian border.
It is not clear which Ukrainian unit was involved in the incident. The soldiers spoke Ukrainian and Russian with a Ukrainian accent.
According to RT Radio, those who were supposed to be Russian prisoners of war were forced lying on the ground. They were beaten and had leg wounds, some of whom appeared to have died during interrogation.
The interrogation team wore blue armbands commonly seen in Ukrainian units. The video also shows three other inmates being asked to get out of a vehicle and shot in the leg.
The clip appeared after Ukrainian forces entered eastern and southern Kharkov. CNN found and verified a video uploaded to Telegram on March 26 showing the Ukrainian Azov battalion winning and taking several Russian prisoners in a quick assault on Olkhovka.
Konstantin Nemichev, a Kharkov official who took part in the battle, posted a video of the Azoz battalion taking prisoners.
When asked about the video of a group of Russian POWs being interrogated and beaten, Mr. Nemichev denied any involvement but suggested it may have been filmed somewhere in Kharkov.
Ukrainian soldiers at a checkpoint in the city of Kharkov on March 23 – Photo: AFP
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Oleksiy Arestovych, said Kiev was taking the incident seriously and would open an investigation immediately.
“We are a European military, so we do not insult prisoners. If the video is real, this is absolutely unacceptable behavior,” Mr. Arestovych told CNN on March 27.
In response to CNN’s request for comment, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry stated that the video may be part of an attempt to fabricate information and false images to discredit the image of the Ukrainian military.
“Soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other legitimate military forces strictly adhere to the rules of international humanitarian law. Consider psychological warfare, information warfare and should only trust official sources,” the Ukrainian side emphasized.
In the first official response from Russia on March 27, the head of Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin confirmed that he would open an investigation into the video.
Investigators will identify all situations, gather evidence and search for those involved to bring them to justice.
Russia claimed 1,351 service members were killed and 3,825 wounded as of March 25. This number is significantly lower than the number reported by Ukraine and other countries, Western media.