UN accuses Russia, Ukraine forces of ‘summary executions’ of prisoners


One UN report issued Friday claimed Ukrainian military personnel had subjected prisoners of war to death threats, mock executions or threats of sexual violence. Some beatings were “purely retaliatory”, it said.

“In some cases, officers beat POWs saying: ‘This is for Bucha’,” the mission reported detainees as saying, referring to a town near Kyiv where Russian forces were accused of widespread atrocities.

“Before questioning, they showed me an axe handle covered in blood as a warning,” the report quoted a Russian POW as saying.

“The questioning lasted for about an hour and they used electricity six times, whenever they thought I was lying,” the detainee said, according to the report.

Ukrainian POWs quoted in the report said they were subjected to torture, sexual violence, a lack of food and water and denied medical attention.

They said they were tortured and ill-treated to extract information or as a form of punishment, the mission said.

Ukrainian prisoners reported being beaten with shovels, stabbed, subjected to electric shocks and strangled.

“Some of them lost their teeth or fingers, had their ribs, fingers or noses broken,” the report said.

“They did not just beat us, they broke us. They used their fists, legs, batons, tasers. There were POWs who had their arms or legs broken,” one man was quoted as saying.

The Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets said on Friday that he was “surprised” by the allegations against Ukrainian troops and said he had not been informed of them in advance.

On Telegram, he wrote that he wanted to “know the facts and the indisputable arguments on which the conclusions” of the UN report were based.

In a separate statement on Friday, Kyiv’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the UN monitors for their work but emphasised that Ukraine “expects that the UN mission will avoid any steps that may be interpreted as equalising the victim and the aggressor”.

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