The Ukrainian military on Tuesday identified a soldier who it says was shot dead by Russian forces as Tymofiy Shadura, after a horrific video of his purported execution emerged online.
The upsetting footage sparked widespread condemnation and war crimes allegations.
Ukraine’s 30th Mechanized Brigade wrote in a Facebook post that Shadura had gone missing on Feb. 3 during heavy fighting near the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Moscow’s soldiers and mercenaries have been trying to capture for months.
The online message noted that the identification is based on preliminary data. Formal confirmation of the fallen soldier’s identity would be made once his body was returned from territory occupied by Russian forces, said the brigade.
The 41-year-old Shadura’s identity was also confirmed by his sister, Olga, who told a Ukrainian journalist, referring to the soldier in the video: “One hundred percent – it’s my brother. [Those are] his eyes, his voice, and the way he smoked a cigarette.”
In the undated 12-second video that has gone viral on social media, a seemingly unarmed, bedraggled soldier with a Ukrainian flag insignia on uniform is seen smoking a cigarette in a wooded area. He proclaims “Glory to Ukraine” in Ukrainian before he is apparently cut down by a volley of bullets fired by an unseen shooter or shooters.
Shadura falls into a shallow hole in the ground as a voice off-camera exclaims in Russian, “die, b—h.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the purported execution of the soldier in his nightly address Monday and vowed to obtain justice for the “hero.”
“Today, a video emerged of the occupiers brutally killing a warrior who bravely said to their faces: ‘Glory to Ukraine!’” Zelensky said. “I want us all to respond to his words together, in unity: ‘Glory to the Hero! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to Ukraine!’ And we will find the murderers.”
Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential office, claimed that Shadura was a Ukrainian prisoner of war and the shooting was part of a “deliberate policy of terror” by Moscow.
“The murder of a captive is the latest Russian war crime,” Yermak wrote in a tweet Monday. “For every such war crime there will be retribution.”
A lawyer who was wounded in battle last year said he was collecting money for a reward to anyone who identified those responsible for Shadura’s killing. He personally pledged $1,000.
Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said Ukraine’s security service had launched a criminal investigation into the unarmed soldier’s killing, while human rights chief Dmytro Lubinets argued that it was a violation of the Geneva Conventions pertaining to the treatment of POWs.
Ukrainian and Western authorities have long claimed that there is evidence of thousands of war crimes committed in Ukraine since the start of the invasion last year.
Russia has repeatedly denied that its forces have committed atrocities or targeted civilians.
With Post wires
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