- A viral video shows Ukrainian troops firing on captured Russians.
- The BBC spoke to speech and injury experts about what the video shows.
- The BBC could not verify the video, but experts say some parts of it are plausible.
A viral video that appears to show Ukrainian troops firing at captured Russians has not been verified but may be real, experts said.
The five-minute video is said to show Ukrainians shooting and beating Russian prisoners of war in the kneecaps, Insider’s Natalie Musumeci previously reported. At one point in the video, the apparent POWs lie tied up and bloodied on the ground.
The BBC fact-checked the video, which it said first circulated on social media on March 27. It spread to pro-Russian accounts, the BBC reported.
General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the supreme commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, said Sunday that the video was staged by Russia to “discredit” Ukrainian forces.
“Cannot be classified as ‘fake'”
The BBC noted that the troops in the video wore the blue armbands worn by Ukrainian troops, but that this does not confirm that they are in fact Ukrainian troops and that they were wearing no other identifying parts of a uniform.
A language expert told the BBC that the people who interviewed the apparent prisoners of war had an accent “consistent with what one would expect from Ukrainians speaking Russian”. But the BBC noted they could also be pro-Russian separatists.
Trauma surgeons and ex-military doctors also spoke to the BBC about the apparent shooting in the video, although they wished to remain anonymous in the report.
One of them said the fact that the men who were shot didn’t scream or bleed a lot didn’t necessarily mean the video was suspicious — something people have pointed out on social media, the noted BBC tight.
He said that soldiers he treated for gunshot wounds did not scream and that some of the soldiers may not bleed much because the video shows them wearing a tourniquet.
“In my opinion, the footage cannot be classified as ‘fake’ based solely on the images seen. This requires a war crimes investigation,” he said.
Another doctor told the BBC: “It appears to be genuine… these match the description of punitive limb shootings.”
The video was recorded at a farm in Malaya Rohan, which is south-east of the city of Kharkiv, the BBC reported after analyzing satellite data. The Washington Post also reported on the same place.
The BBC reported that the weather conditions in the video were consistent with it being taken on March 26, but noted the video was undated.
The BBC noted that Ukrainian troops were in the area at the time.
Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian government, told the Times of London that the government takes this “very seriously and there will be an immediate investigation”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the video was full of “monstrous images” and called for an investigation.