Human Rights Watch Investigation Reveals Alleged Executions of Surrendering Ukrainian Soldiers by Russian Forces

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that Russian forces allegedly executed at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers attempting to surrender in 5 different incidents, with suspicions of 6 more cases since December 2023. The organization urges investigations into these potential war crimes, citing violations of international humanitarian law.

Examination and analysis of drone footage, social media content, and interviews enabled HRW to pinpoint the alleged executions in both Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. However, the precise location of an incident that occurred on February 19 remains unconfirmed independently.

The report also highlights an audio recording instructing Russian soldiers to “take no prisoners, shoot everyone,” suggesting direct orders for execution without capture. Despite evidence of these violations, Russia has not responded to inquiries or shown a willingness to prosecute these alleged war crimes.

The United Nations has corroborated some claims, noting consistent violations against Ukrainian POWs.

Human Rights Watch has called for accountability and adherence to international standards prohibiting the execution of combatants who have surrendered or are incapacitated, and urging for prosecution of war crimes to ensure justice for the victims.