Pro-Russian armed groups have allegedly carried out ‘execution-style killings’ of the captured Ukrainian soldiers in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, Amnesty International has revealed.
The watchdog posted a video on YouTube that shows Ukrainian soldier Ihor Branovytsky, who was captured while defending Donetsk airport, being interrogated with signs that he was hit in the face.
Citing a number of individuals as evidence, Amnesty claimed that Branovytsky was shot and killed at point-blank range by a separatist commander, and his body was returned to his family earlier this month.
Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia deputy director Denis Krivosheev said: "The new evidence of these summary killings confirms what we have suspected for a long time.
"The torture, ill-treatment and killing of captured, surrendered or wounded soldiers are war crimes.
"These claims must be promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated, and the perpetrators prosecuted in fair trials by recognised authorities."
Amnesty has claimed to have seen videos documenting the captivity, and pictures of the dead bodies of at least three other Ukrainian soldiers, reportedly being held in a morgue in Donetsk following their capture in Debaltseve in February.
The deceased allegedly show signs of bullet wounds to their heads and upper parts of their bodies, apparently the result of execution-style killings.
The revelation follows a report by Kyiv Post, which featured a phone interview, allegedly made by Russian national Arseniy Pavlov, leader of the pro-Russian armed group Sparta Battalion, who claimed to have ‘shot dead’ 15 captured Ukrainian soldiers.
Krivosheev said: "This chilling confession from a separatist fighter, alongside video evidence and testimony from witnesses, and the mounting evidence of abuses of captives by both sides, highlights the urgent need for an independent investigation into this and all other allegations of abuses in this conflict which began a year ago."
According to BBC reports approximately 6,000 people have been killed since fighting began between rebels and the Ukrainian military in eastern parts of the country in early 2014.
Image: Pro-Russian rebels allegedly carried out ‘execution-style killings’ of the captured Ukrainian soldiers in eastern Ukraine. Photo: courtesy of EPA/OLGA IVASHCHENKO.