UN: At least 32 Ukrainian POWs executed in Russian captivity during winter

At least 32 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POW), recently captured by Russia, have been executed between Dec. 1, 2023, and Feb. 29, a report by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on March 26.

Reports of Ukrainian POWs being tortured or killed while in Russian captivity have been surfacing since the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine. As of late February, the Prosecutor General's Office said 19 criminal investigations were underway regarding the execution of 45 Ukrainian POWs.

OHCHR said it had recorded 12 cases of executions of at least 32 captured Ukrainian POWs during the winter, suggesting that some of them presumably were killed in groups.

"OHCHR has verified three of these incidents in which Russian servicemen executed seven Ukrainian servicemen hors de combat," reads the report, which is based on interviews with 60 Ukrainian soldiers released from captivity.

Their accounts confirmed the previously documented facts of widespread torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment of Ukrainian POWs in Russian captivity, as well as detention conditions that do not comply with international law, OHCHR said.

OHCHR also interviewed 44 Russian prisoners of war who did not report torture in official Ukrainian places of detention. The organization said, however, there were "credible allegations of instances of torture and ill-treatment of Russian POWs committed in transit places after their evacuation from the battlefield," according to the report.

An investigation by the Kyiv Independent from last December revealed the inhumane conditions of detention, hunger, and torture at one Russian camp in particular: Olenivka prison, located in Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast.

Read also: Ombudsman: Russian troops executed at least 7 Ukrainian POWs near Bakhmut

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