Bellingcat investigator says why he thinks video of mutilation of Ukrainian soldier was posted on Web

9 August 2022, 05:20 PM
Christo Grozev, lead investigator at the open-source investigations team Bellingcat (Photo:Oleg Petrasyuk)

Christo Grozev, lead investigator at the open-source investigations team Bellingcat (Photo:Oleg Petrasyuk)

A horrific video of the mutilation and murder of a Ukrainian soldier was posted online by the Russians because “most likely, they wanted to brag,” Christo Grozev, lead investigator at the open-source investigations team Bellingcat, said on Radio NV on Aug 9.

“I think we should always look for the simplest explanation, (the one) which is sufficient to explain the situation,” Grozev told Radio NV.

He said that the video consisted of three parts, and after the first video was posted on the Telegram channel for Russian mercenaries, their opinions were divided.

Video of day

“Some of them said it was necessary to show such things in order to prove to the Ukrainians that joining the army is a bad idea,” said Grozev. “There was some logic in their argument. And the other half said that “it’s fine what we did to the Ukrainian, but Europe will see it differently.” Then they began to think that maybe it wasn’t necessary.”

According to him, the administrators of these channels changed their stance regarding the video "in a couple of hours."

“Apparently, someone contacted them. They (the administrators) said that “we’re not sure that these are our men in the video, most likely they are Ukrainians,” Grozev said, describing the development of events.

“Then there is a second, conspiratorial explanation,” Grozev said. “The video, of course, is authentic, it shows actual Russian militants who are doing this, but I don't exclude the possibility that the Russian special services, having received this video somehow, sent it anonymously to pro-Russian Telegram channels so they would be the ones to post it. This is normal practice during war.”

The Bellingcat investigator added that how the video wounded up being posted on Telegram channels remains unclear, “but, most likely, the simplest explanation is that they themselves wanted to brag about it, to scare new Ukrainian soldiers.”

“Then the FSB (Russian security service) talked to them and they realized that this was a very stupid idea,” Grozev said.

The office of the Prosecutor General opened criminal proceedings after the publication of a video of the torture and murder of a captive Ukrainian by the Russian military. A UN spokesperson said the organization was “shocked” by the video. Advisor to the head of the Office of the President Mykhailo Podolyak, commenting on the video, called Russia a "country of cannibals."

Journalists from The Insider on Aug. 5. conducted a joint investigation with Bellingcat and identified a Russian soldier they suspect carried out the mutilation and perhaps the murder of the captive Ukrainian soldier.

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