Ukraine deplores the attack, which has been blamed on Russia, while the Kremlin says the video should be studied for authenticity.
A pro-Kremlin blogger posted a horrific video purporting to show a Ukrainian soldier being shot alive, and it began circulating on social media on Tuesday.
The video clip shows a Ukrainian soldier being beheaded by Russian soldiers.
The footage emerged days after a separate video was posted on pro-Russian social media channels of what appeared to be the beheaded bodies of two Ukrainian soldiers.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest video, which Al Jazeera has been unable to independently verify.
What happens in the video?
Another man wearing a green military uniform and a yellow armband worn by Ukrainian forces, is approached by another man wearing camouflage uniform and a white band around his leg, normally worn by Russian forces, and decapitates him with a large knife.
Then a third man lifts the flak jacket of the decapitated soldier. There are three beeps audible in the clip, indicating that the Ukrainian soldier was alive when the attack took place.
When and where were they filmed?
It is unclear exactly where the footage was filmed as the video contains no recognizable landmarks. It appears that the soldiers are in a wooded area.
The timing of the attack is also unclear. The state of the foliage does not reflect the current weather conditions in Ukraine. The appearance of green leaves may indicate that the attack took place last summer, but that is still speculation at this point.
The video appears to have been first shared on messaging app Telegram by a pro-Kremlin blogger.
What did Ukraine say about the video?
The video angered high-ranking Ukrainian officials.
“There is something that no one in the world can ignore: how easy it is to kill these monsters,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He said Ukraine would not “forget” or “forgive” the incident, adding: “There will be legal responsibility for everything.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the “horrific” act and called Russia “worse than ISIS” on Twitter. He also called for “Russia to be held accountable for its crimes” and to expel it from the United Nations.
Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenskyy’s advisor, stated on Twitter that the latest video proved Russia’s “again bloodthirstiness”.
Ukraine’s State Security Service launched an investigation into the video, and Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets asked the UN Human Rights Committee to investigate as well.
What was the international reaction?
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it was “appalled”.
EU spokeswoman Nabila Masrali said that if the video is confirmed, it will be “another brutal reminder of the inhumane nature of Russian aggression”.
“The European Union reiterates its firm commitment to holding all perpetrators of war crimes and accomplices in connection with the Russian war to account,” she said.
The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said it was appalled, adding: “Those responsible for all crimes committed in Ukraine must be held accountable.”
The Kremlin called the video “terrible” and said it should be verified. Moscow has denied in the past that its forces committed atrocities during the conflict.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office announced that it had launched an investigation into the video.
She added, “In order to assess the credibility of these materials and take the appropriate decision, they were referred to the investigation authorities for verification.”
what happened after that?
A number of disturbing videos have gone viral during the war, which began on February 24, 2022.
In March, video showed Oleksandr Matsiyevsky, an unarmed Ukrainian prisoner of war smoking in a trench, being shot dead by automatic weapons.
Ukraine opened an investigation at the time, and Foreign Minister Kuleba called on the ICC to launch an “immediate investigation”.
Last July, a video emerged showing a Ukrainian prisoner of war being castrated in the Russian-occupied Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities have since identified the man.
Kyiv was also accused of executing prisoners of war. In November, a video emerged showing Russian soldiers being shot after they tried to surrender.
Numerous investigations are usually carried out after each incident, but little can be done to bring any of the perpetrators to justice in the current situation.
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