Ukrainian investigators said Sunday that the soldier whose execution was filmed and widely shared in early March had been identified. It is a "sniper of the 163rd battalion of the 119th territorial defense brigade of the Chernihiv region (Ukraine), Oleksandr Igorovich Matsievskiy," the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in a statement.

The distinction of Hero of Ukraine

The soldier's mother had recently spoken on television and had already confirmed the identity of the executed man. The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday evening that he had awarded the soldier the title of Hero of Ukraine. He spoke of "a person who will be remembered forever."

Vasyl Malyouk, head of the SBU, called Oleksandr Matsievskiy "a true hero who, even in the face of death, demonstrated to the whole world what the character and invincibility of Ukrainians are." He said investigators were now seeking to identify the Russian servicemen who "committed this bloody crime."

A soldier born in Moldova

To determine the identity of the Ukrainian shot, the investigators explained that they relied on "an investigation", "communication with relatives of the deceased", "the analysis of photos and videos" and also "the conclusions of the forensic examination". Oleksandr Matsievskiy was reportedly captured by Russian forces in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine. He was born on 10 May 1980 in Moldova.

The approximately 12-second video, which went viral, showed a soldier in uniform and unarmed smoking a cigarette and shouting "Glory to Ukraine!" as he was shot dead by gunfire.

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  • Execution