The Ukrainian prosecutor has launched an investigation after a video emerged on social media that Moscow said shows Russian soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces last weekend.
Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Dmytro Lubinets has claimed the Russians staged a surrender and opened fire first, adding that “returning fire is not a war crime.”
The video – which has been geolocated by CNN – was filmed on the outskirts of the village of Makiivka, which is in the eastern Luhansk region, about 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) northeast of Lyman, but the precise details of what happened remained unclear.
In a statement Tuesday, the Prosecutor’s General Office of Ukraine said the Luhansk Regional Prosecutor’s Office will investigate “perfidy” — actions aimed at gaining the enemy’s confidence in order to gain military advantage — committed by Russian forces during their surrender, which is prohibited under international human law.
“According to the results of media monitoring, it became known that in the village of Makiivka, Luhansk region, Russian servicemen, imitating the surrender to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, opened fire on Ukrainian defenders. Such actions are prohibited by international humanitarian law,” the statement said.
During the pre-trial investigation, measures will be taken to establish all the circumstances of this event, as well as to provide a legal assessment of all its participants, it added.
On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists that Russia will do “everything possible” to search for those responsible, adding that they must be “punished.”
The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, commented on the incident on Sunday, claiming the Russians staged a surrender and opened fire first, adding that “returning fire is not a war crime.”
What the video appears to show: The edited video purports to show captured Russian soldiers in an act of surrender, with several men lying on the ground on their fronts with their hands over their heads. More soldiers are seen emerging one by one from a building and lying down next to them in the yard.
A voice apparently directing the surrender can be heard shouting: “Come on out, one by one. Which of you is the officer? Has everyone come out? Come out!”
After about 10 men are down on the ground, another soldier emerges from the same building and appears to open fire in the direction of the Ukrainian soldiers conducting the surrender.
A short burst of gunfire is heard before the video clip ends abruptly.
A second clip filmed later from a drone above the same location shows the bodies of what appear to be the same Russian soldiers in the yard, most just a few meters from where they had been lying in the first clip.
CNN has been unable to verify exactly what happened in the first video clip, and it is unclear exactly what happened in the period that elapsed between the first clip and the filming of the drone footage.
CNN’s Olga Voitovych and Radina Gigova contributed reporting to this post.