Russia appeals to int’l organizations over Kupyansk execution

  • By Al Mayadeen English 
  • Source: Agencies
  • 10 Oct 

Russia’s Human Rights Council appeals to several international organizations to try and curb Ukraine’s criminality against civilians.

Russian Human Rights Council chief Valery Fadeev appealed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the Red Cross, and Amnesty International over footage showing the execution of civilians near Kupyansk, the Russian Human Rights Council said.

A former commander of the Azov nationalist battalion, Maxim Zhorin, published last week footage showing the bodies of killed civilians with their hands tied in Kupyansk, Kharkov.

After the video went viral, Zhorin claimed that Russian servicemen had a hand in the civilians’ murder.

On the other hand, the report of the Russian Investigative Committee revealed that the video’s metadata indicated that it was recently filmed, specifically during the period when the Ukrainian forces were in control of the region. The video’s internal parameters show that it was filmed on the afternoon of October 9.

According to the Investigative Committee, the aforementioned facts show new war crimes committed by Kiev against innocent civilians.

This would not be the first time, as a video that began circulating around March 27 showed three men in fatigues with their hands tied behind their backs. They were thrown to the ground by Ukrainian soldiers who proceeded to shoot them in the legs.

AFP reported that they were able to geolocalise the footage to the village of Mala Rogan outside Kharkov, recently seized by Kiev’s forces. Correspondents made it to the village on March 28 and saw the bodies of two Russian soldiers on its streets with shopping bags on their heads.

Human Rights Watch called on Kiev to investigate “possible” war crimes after the footage emerged.

“Russian presidential aide, HRC Chairman Valery Fadeev. on Monday sent appeals to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, the European Council and the European Parliament in connection with the appearance of a video of executions of civilians near Kupyansk,” the statement says.

In the letter, Fadeev underlined how “the video testifies to extrajudicial killings, the physical destruction of people who show a civil position and dare to oppose official Kiev.”

The situation is aggravated by the fact that the Ukrainian authorities previously publicly announced the conduct of “tough cleansing” and “filtration measures.”

“We call on you and the international community to take the information presented seriously and to achieve an international investigation into the crimes recorded on the video,” the letter said.

Ukraine has been accused by Amnesty International of violating international humanitarian law protocols by endangering civilians during the ongoing military conflict with Russia.

According to the organization, it has been operating weapons out of bases established in residential areas while civilians are present, which breaches rule 23 of Article 58(b) of Additional Protocol I that separates military objectives and civilian populations. 

As NATO continues to support providing ammunition to Ukraine, schools were not exempt, as Amnesty International also found that Ukraine had established military bases in 22 out of 29 schools in the Donbass and Mykolaiv regions during the investigation, which resulted in multiple deaths and injuries according to the World Health Organization.

The Azov Battalion, with far-right and ultranationalist roots, has been one of Ukraine’s most visible military forces fighting Russia in eastern Ukraine. It is a former volunteer unit incorporated into Ukraine’s army, which was declared a terrorist organization by Russia’s Supreme Court.

Russia has frequently referenced Azov to bolster its claim that Ukraine is under the hands of “fascists”.

The Azov Battalion is not the only body in Ukraine with a Nazi background. An armed guard who works for the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has been spotted with a Nazi insignia; a symbol that dates back to Nazi Germany during World War II.

The skull-and-bones image, which was spotted on the back of a heavily armed Ukrainian soldier, is attributed to the SS-Totenkopfverbande units of Nazi Germany’s paramilitary Schutzstaffel, which was responsible for maintaining security at the concentration camps in which Jews were burned alive. 

The symbol was also adopted by the Panzer Division – the ‘Totenkopf’ – of the Waffen-SS, which emerged from concentration camp guards initially, going on to fight on the Eastern front, committing serious war crimes.

The United States and Canada over the years have aided the neo-Nazi units with weapons and training, strengthening their presence in Ukraine.