A video released that showed Ukrainian prisoner of war being beheaded has surfaced on social media, is garnering reactions from across the world, including Russia and the United Nations. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed Russian “beasts” for the video and vowed justice for his country.
“There is something that no one in the world can ignore: how easily these beasts kill,” Zelensky said in a video address released on social media.
“We won’t forget anything, nor will we forgive murderers,” he added, vowing to bring justice to his war-torn nation.
“This video… The execution of a Ukrainian captive… The world must see it,” Zelensky added in the video address.
The authenticity of the video, which lasts around one minute 40 seconds, has not been verified yet. It shows a masked man in camouflage decapitating another man in uniform. Voices can be heard encouraging the attacker in Russian. After the decapitation, a voice is heard saying that the head should be sent “to the commander”.
In the video, the victim’s vest can be seen bearing the Ukrainian trident.
Russia also responded to the video, calling the images “horrible” and asked for it to be verified.
“First of all, the authenticity of this horrible footage needs to be verified,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that “we live in a world of fakes.”
Meanwhile, a United Nations mission in Ukraine said it was “appalled” by “gruesome” videos emerging from the war.
“The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine is appalled by particularly gruesome videos posted on social media,” it said in a statement. “One of the videos shows a brutal execution of a man who appears to be a Ukrainian prisoner of war, while the other one shows mutilated bodies of apparent Ukrainian POWs.”
This is not the first time such a video has emerged from the Ukraine war. A few weeks back, another Russian soldier was killed on camera after shouting “Glory to Ukraine!” The 12-second video was widely circulated on social media and showed an apparently unarmed man in a uniform with a Ukrainian flag insignia on his arm.
Ukraine confirmed that the prisoner of war in the video was Oleksandr Ihorovych Matsiyevsky, a sniper with the 163rd Battalion of the 119th Separate Tank Brigade of the Chernihiv Region. Matsiyevsky’s family and his commander had earlier recognised him in the video.
In the video, Oleksandr Matsiyevsky can be seen smoking a cigarette in a wooded area. He can then be heard saying “Slava Ukraini!” – or Glory to Ukraine. Soon, multiple shots can be heard fired by a shooter or shooters who are not visible in the video. The man slumps to the ground, with another saying “Die, bitch” in Russian.