Ukrainian authorities are investigating a video that allegedly shows Ukrainian soldiers shooting Russian prisoners of war in the legs.
A blurry video has been shared from pro-Russian Twitter accounts since March 27.
The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s forces, Valery Zululozini, has said that Russia is producing videos and sharing them on social media platforms to defame Ukrainian forces, but Oleksiy Aristovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, said. We are investigating the matter immediately.
“I want to remind our military and civilian defense forces that mistreatment of prisoners of war is a war crime,” he said.
The BBC is trying to analyze the video. Here is what the BBC has learned so far.
What Does The Video Look Like?
This video shows some soldiers lying on the ground who have been taken, prisoner. Some soldiers have bags on their heads and some of them are bleeding from their legs. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
Detainees are asking him what his unit’s name is and where he is stationed.
At one point, three people being pulled out of a car were shot in the legs by a soldier. Then these people ask them questions.
Where Was This Video Made?
A Twitter handle said the video was made at Malaya Rohan’s dairy plant, southeast of Kharkiv.
The BBC tried to verify the location with the help of geo-location detectors. Ukrainian forces have recently recaptured the area from Russian forces.
We tried to pinpoint the locations in this video with the help of satellite imagery and what we have learned so far is as follows.
We can identify some parts of this house where these three soldiers are shot. Behind a white structure are a tree, a fireplace, and a window top. All of these signs can be seen in an old Google photo of the same dairy.
The BBC has tried to contact the dairy plant.
When Was This Movie Made?
The metadata of this video does not indicate when it was made, but it does show that the weather is clear, there are no clouds and the ground is dry on the day the video was made.
Weather reports from Kharkiv show that the video could have been made on March 26. The day was bright and dry on Friday and Saturday but light rain was recorded in the area on Saturday and Sunday night.
Video frames indicate that the video was recorded in the first hours of the day.
Prisoner soldiers are being questioned in Russian. According to a BBC monitoring language expert, the accent of Russian speakers is similar to that of Ukrainians who speak Russian.
Another expert said the speakers in the video had a Ukrainian accent.
Prisoners are accused of shelling Kharkhiu. One prisoner says he is not Russian but Azerbaijani.
One says he is stationed in Bishkek, near Malaya Rohan.
Who are the Soldiers?
The detainees are from eastern Ukraine, but it is not clear if they are Ukrainian soldiers. There is also the possibility of Russian-backed separatists in the region.
The uniforms they are wearing have blue armored bands used by the Ukrainian army, but this is by no means final.
Other than that, no soldier’s regiment badge or any other sign of identity appears. It is not possible to identify the faces of these soldiers. However, Ukrainian forces were present in the area.
Over the weekend, March 26 and 27, the video was posted online as actions by the far-right Kraken unit.
The BBC has learned that the location of the video is Valkhiyoka village, which is 3.5 kilometers away from Malaya Rohan. The weather in Valkhiyoka village on this day is similar to the weather in this video.
The Krakنw group said it had taken 30 Russian soldiers prisoner in the village of Volkhyoka.
The soldiers were blindfolded and put in a van and told to sing the Ukrainian national anthem, but there were no signs of gunfire or violence.
In this video, a soldier carrying a gun walks past the prisoners.
The BBC asked military expert Nick Reynolds to watch the video. He told us that how the soldier carried the gun was similar to that of the Ukrainian Special Forces, but Nick Reynolds said he had never seen the weapon.
Questions about Shooting
The most disturbing part of the video is the three men shooting at the prisoners’ legs at close range. Whether this video is real or fake is being debated on social media. Some people are saying that the legs of these soldiers are not bleeding much and their screams are not coming.
The BBC spoke to several trauma surgeons and former Army doctors, who gave us their opinions on the condition of anonymity.
One doctor said he had treated soldiers who had been shot but were not screaming or raising their voices.
One of the reasons for the low blood flow from the soldiers’ legs is the bandage that can be seen in the video.
One expert told us that the images in the video could not be considered fake and that war crimes investigations were needed.
Another doctor said the video sounded real.
Some people on social media said that when these guns are being fired, there is no pushback when the gun is moving, which may mean that they are firing empty cartridges.
However, Nick Reynolds said that the AK-74 has a shorter shell and shorter shots when it is fired, but Nick Reynolds said that the quality of the video is not very good.
The BBC is still trying to determine the authenticity of the video and will release it to readers as soon as any information about it comes to light.