"Revenge for our hero is inevitable," the Ukrainian army promises. The spread of a viral video on social media of the execution of an unarmed Ukrainian soldier has provoked outrage in Kiev and beyond.

"According to preliminary data, the deceased is the soldier of the 30th Mechanized Brigade Tymofiy Mykolayovych Shadura," who participated in the fighting near Bakhmut (east) and was considered missing since February 3, the Ukrainian army said on Telegram. The body of the soldier is in Russian-occupied territory and its "definitive" identification will only be possible after its recovery and expertise, said the army.

This silhouette will remain in the history of the #Ukraine, as one of the symbols of this war of annihilation of the Ukrainian nation. Rarely did he feel as much rage in Ukrainian society as he did after the Russians' filmed execution of this prisoner of war pic.twitter.com/IdWUdfqQEV

— Stéphane Siohan (@stefsiohan) March 6, 2023

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War crimes

The video shows a man in military uniform and apparently unarmed, smoking a cigarette. Another man, who is off-camera, utters a few words in Russian to which the first responds: "Glory to Ukraine" before being immediately mowed down by bursts of bullets. "Die, bastard," the man behind the camera says in Russian.

AFP could not independently verify where and when the footage was filmed or whether it showed, as Ukrainian officials and social media users claim, the execution of a Ukrainian prisoner, which would amount to a war crime.

Publications and drawings in tribute

This video provoked strong reactions in Ukraine, which has been fighting the Russian invasion for a year. Gone viral Monday on social networks, many publications, photos and drawings pay tribute to this soldier, his courage and patriotism.

President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to "find the murderers" Monday in his evening video speech while his head of diplomacy Dmytro Kuleba called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the case. "Horrific video of an unarmed Ukrainian prisoner of war executed by Russian forces for simply saying 'Glory to Ukraine'. Another proof that this war is genocidal," Dmytro Kouleba commented on Twitter.

The phrase "Glory to Ukraine" followed by "Glory to heroes" has been massively circulated on social networks in Ukraine since Monday. Moscow and Kiev have repeatedly accused each other of killing POWs since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began.

  • War in Ukraine
  • World
  • Russia
  • Volodymyr Zelensky