Moscow came out swinging at Washington Tuesday after its war crimes envoy argued Russia’s atrocities far outstripped Kyiv’s, after videos emerged allegedly showing Ukrainian soldiers executing surrendered Russian troops.
“Any normal person shudders and rejects such atrocities. We will never forget the horrendous killing of unarmed soldiers who were forced to lie on the ground…then ruthlessly shot,” Russia’s embassy to the US said in a Telegram post.
“How can the Administration explain its callous attitude towards the death of ordinary warriors to their mothers, wives and children?” it questioned.
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Russia has been accused of committing war crimes since the onslaught of its invasion, which prompted the International Criminal Court and several Western nations to open thousands of investigations into gross human rights abuses, including forced deportations, sexual abuse, torture and the murder of Ukrainian civilians .
However, questions mounted over the weekend relating to potential war crimes committed by Ukraine after videos emerged on social media allegedly showing Ukrainian soldiers killing Russian troops who had apparently surrendered.
“We are obviously tracking that quite closely,” US Ambassador-at-Large on International Criminal Justice Beth van Schaack told reporters Monday. “It’s really important to emphasize that the laws of war apply to all parties equally, both the aggressor state and the defender state.
“But when it comes to the war in Ukraine, that’s really where the equivalence ends,” she continued. “When we’re looking at the sheer scale of criminality exhibited by Russian forces, it’s enormous compared to the allegations that we have seen against Ukrainian forces.”
Russia took issue with van Schaack’s comments, calling them “cynical” and also took issue with her “refusal” to condemn what the embassy described as a “massacre.”
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Fox News could not verify the authenticity of the videos, and Ukrainian officials this week said they would look into the allegations.
Fragmented video clips were reportedly circulated on Russian social media over the weekend showing a group of who appeared to be Russia soldiers – giving red and white arm and leg bands – surrendering to Ukrainian troops who were wearing yellow and blue bands.
According to footage reviewed by the Associated Press, one 36-second-long video showed a group of roughly 10 Russian soldiers, some lying on the ground, while others apparently unarmed exited a building with their arms raised. Orders were then shouted, and the 10 Russians joined the men on the ground.
A man who appears to be armed then emerged from behind the outbuilding before the video became too blurry to make out what was happening as gunfire rang out.
The video then cut off.
Another 8-second video reportedly showed the gunman open fire with a riffle in a slowed down effect.
A separate 25-second video appeared to be shot with a drone and showed the men lying motionless in pools of blood.
Russia’s foreign ministry has demanded that the international community condemn the shootings.
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Moscow accused the US of “condoning” Kyiv’s “crimes” and said, “Washington supports murderers who deserve no forgiveness or justification.”
The US war envoy encouraged both Ukrainian and Russian soldiers to abide by international law or “face the consequences” for violating terms outlined under the Geneva Convention.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.