Russia Accused Of Summary Executions And Chemical Weapons Use In Ukraine

As the Ukraine-Russia war drags on, reports suggest that Russian troops have frequently turned to indiscriminate violence. The US State Department has also accused Russia of using banned chemical weapons to gain a tactical advantage on the battlefield.

Russia Accused Of Summary Executions And Chemical Weapons Use In Ukraine

Reports have emerged suggesting that Russian forces have engaged in the summary execution of Ukrainian soldiers, even as they attempted to surrender or had already laid down their arms. The allegations of these war crimes, detailed in a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), suggest a complete disregard for international humanitarian law and the laws of war.

The investigation conducted by Human Rights Watch focused on five incidents between December 2023 and February 2024, where at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers were allegedly summarily executed while attempting to surrender. The report, released on May 2, demanded for a thorough investigation into the executions.

Belkis Wille, a senior researcher at HRW, claimed, “Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, its forces have committed many heinous war crimes… the summary execution – or murder – of surrendering and injured Ukrainian soldiers, gunned down in cold blood, expressly forbidden under international humanitarian law, is also included in that shameful legacy.”

The evidence cited by HRW includes analysis of drone footage, social media videos, interviews with Ukrainian soldiers, and media reports. While the precise locations of some incidents remain unconfirmed, HRW emphasized that these apparent executions do not appear to be isolated occurrences.

One particularly chilling incident captured on February 25th showed Ukrainian soldiers emerging from a dugout, removing their body armor, and lying face down as Russian soldiers aimed and fired at them.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has launched approximately 27 investigations into similar allegations of war crimes. Additionally, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine reported separate incidents of alleged executions of Ukrainian prisoners and widespread torture of captured soldiers.

The atrocities extend beyond the battlefield, with civilians in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory been made victims to arbitrary killings, detention, and restricted freedoms of expression, according to the UN monitoring mission.

In response to these allegations, Russia has denied committing war crimes, asserting its adherence to the Geneva Conventions. However, the United States has added another layer of complexity to the war by accusing Russia of using chemical weapons, including chloropicrin, in violation of international law.

Chloropicrin, a chemical banned under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, has reportedly been deployed by Russian forces against Ukrainian soldiers. Reuters has also suggested that Russian forces have deployed grenades with CS and CN gasses in combat.