Russian ‘oppositionists’ claiming Ukraine killed POWs are FSB agents, says ex-Duma MP

21 November 2022, 07:01 PM
Russia trying to discourage its troops from surrendering to Ukraine by hyping alleged ‘war crime’ (Photo:Screenshot of video Necro Mancer via Twitter)

Russia trying to discourage its troops from surrendering to Ukraine by hyping alleged ‘war crime’ (Photo:Screenshot of video Necro Mancer via Twitter)

The Russian opposition figures who claimed that Ukrainian soldiers "murdered prisoners of war" are agents for Russia’s FSB security service, former State Duma parliamentarian and now citizen of Ukraine Ilya Ponomarev said in an interview with Radio NV published on Nov. 21.

"The Ukrainian military killed 20 potential prisoners of war who were (in the process of) surrendering,” he said.

“(But) one of them started shooting at our (Ukrainian) soldiers, and they, of course, killed everyone, because they returned fire. The Navalny group you mentioned says that this is a crime and that (President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy is breaking his commitments and promises that anyone can surrender. But they are doing it very much in sync with how the Russian Foreign Ministry is pushing it. It is clear where it comes from right from the start.”

Video of day

Ponomarev said that Russian soldiers are surrendering to Ukraine on a "large scale" and this has become a "huge problem" for Russia, so the Kremlin is trying to discourage it.

"But Russian oppositionists are also spreading this information," the former State Duma politician noted.

“Of course, those who do this are agents for the FSB.”

On Nov. 13, Ukrainian websites published a drone video showing the bodies of 12 Russian soldiers in the yard of a village house.

On Nov. 17, more footage of what appeared to be same incident appeared — this time filmed by Ukrainian soldiers right at the scene. This video shows Ukrainian soldiers ordering the Russian troops in the barn to come out one by one and surrender. They also inquire who the officer is and whether all of them have left.

A man in a darker uniform is the last to come out from around the corner of the building, and appears to open fire while the other Russian soldiers lie on the ground. The camera immediately drops, and only the sounds of shots are heard. Who the man is shooting at and what happens afterwards remains unclear. The moment of the shooting is not recorded.

After the video appeared, the Russian authorities accused the Ukrainian military of "shooting prisoners of war."

At the same time, Italian military analyst Thomas Theiner has said that only the Russian who opened fire committed a war crime. According to him, the procedure of surrendering to the superior enemy forces is well defined, and soldiers are trained in how to carry it out.

“The only war crime was the opening of fire by a Russian soldier,” Theiner said on Twitter. “And he took all his comrades with him, forcing the Ukrainian machine gunner to do his job and open fire. I feel sorry for the Russians who surrendered, but it was not a war crime.”

Advisor to the President's Office Oleksiy Arestovych also said in an interview with blogger Mark Feigin that false surrenders are a war crime.

According to him, international law says that if a person who is surrendering behaves aggressively, he loses the rights of a prisoner of war. Therefore, this incident cannot be considered a "shooting of prisoners of war," and the servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit a war crime.

Commenting on this incident, Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubynets also said that perfidy (false surrender) is a war crime, but returning fire is not.

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