Officials claim to have credible evidence that Russia executed Ukrainians who attempted to surrender in the Donetsk region, according to U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack, who spoke at a UN meeting on April 27.
“We now have credible information that a Russian military unit operating in the vicinity of Donetsk executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender, rather than take them into custody,” she stated at a UN Security Council meeting centered on Ukraine.
“If true, this would be in violation of a core principle of the law of war: the prohibition against the summary execution of civilians and of combatants who are hors de combat by virtue of surrender, injury, or other forms of incapacitation,” said Van Schaack.
The deaths are added to a growing list of alleged war crimes committed by Russia, including targeting civilians, kidnapping of children, torture, and rape.
Republic World reports Russia has concentrated its efforts in the Donetsk region after failing to capture Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city.
Russia has denied the allegations of war crimes and continues to describe the invasion as a “special military operation” aimed at liberating separatists in Ukraine.
Because Russian forces are allegedly shooting at trucks and aid workers assisting civilians, delivering humanitarian aid has been difficult.
Two months into the conflict, 5 million Ukrainians have fled their country, with millions more internally displaced due to the fighting, The Hill reports.
The United States has previously labeled Russia’s actions as “genocide” and has imposed dozens of sanctions aimed at Russia’s economy in an attempt to halt the invasion. The Biden administration has also provided billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine.
“Our simple message to Russia’s military and political leadership and to the rank-and-file is this: the world is watching, and you will be held accountable,” Van Schaack said.