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Freedom Heart Ukraine

Russian depravity knows no limits

Apr 20, 2023 | News, Opinion, Editorials, Featured, Politics

The International Criminal Court building is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

Marco Levytsky,
Editorial Writer

Just when you thought you had seen just about everything, comes a video that sinks to new lows in terms of depravity. Footage so gruesome that it was blanked out in news reports, but was shared online by a pro-Kremlin blogger. It began circulating on social media on April 11.

The video appears to show a Ukrainian soldier being beheaded by Russian soldiers – and not with the kind of a clean slice that an axe or guillotine would produce, but sawed off slowly and agonizingly with a knife.

It is unclear exactly where the footage was filmed as the video contains no identifiable landmarks. The timing of the attack is also unclear. The appearance of green leaves could suggest the attack took place last summer, but that remains speculation at this point.

This horrendous video has been universally condemned. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said action this was worse than even ISIS would perpetrate and pointed to this as an example of the absurdity of Russia presiding over the UN Security Council. “Russian terrorists must be kicked out of Ukraine and the UN and be held accountable for their crimes,” he stated. “There is something that no one in the world can ignore: how easily these beasts kill,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video message.

European Union spokesperson Nabila Massrali said that if the video was confirmed, it would be “another brutal reminder about the inhumane nature of the Russian aggression”.

“The EU reiterates its firm commitment to holding to account all perpetrators and accomplices of war crimes committed in connection with Russia’s war,” she said. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called it ‘appalling’ The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said it was horrified, adding: “Those responsible for all the crimes committed in Ukraine must be held accountable.”

Even Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the video was “horrible” but added must be verified. Throughout this “special military operation” Russia has consistently denied that its soldiers carry out atrocities. That’s an indisputable lie. This is not the first time a video of atrocities committed against Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian forces was circulated on social media. Along with the aforementioned beheading another video was posted showing the bodies of two Ukrainian soldiers next to a destroyed military vehicle, their heads and hands missing, with a voice commenting in Russian in the background. Last month a video emerged showing the execution of an unarmed Ukrainian POW who is murdered after he says “Glory to Ukraine”, while smoking a cigarette.

And, who can forget the sickening video posted last July on Russian social media which showed a Russian soldier castrating a Ukrainian prisoner of war, who is tied up and gagged, with a box cutter. On the next day, a second video was posted with possibly the same soldiers in which they taped the POW’s mouth with black tape, placed his head in front of his cut genitals, and shot him in the head.

That same month Human Rights Watch documented the torture of three Ukrainian prisoners of war, members of the Territorial Defense Forces, and the death of two of them in the occupied areas of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. A month earlier, the Security Service of Ukraine intercepted a conversation between Russian invaders in which they bragged about torturing Ukrainian soldiers and bombarding peaceful settlements. As one of the aggressors told his father: “They took two prisoners. They cut off one’s ear – he didn’t want to talk. Nothing wrong with that. [He should be glad that] they didn’t put a bullet through his brain or quarter him with an armoured vehicle.”

But what do you expect when you comb the prisons of Russia to recruit murderers and rapists for your armed forces? What do you expect when you encourage them to go out loot, murder and rape men, women and even children? What do you expect when your entire war strategy is based upon terrorizing the civilian population in the hope that they will give up the struggle for their survival? And what do you expect when the head of the Russian Orthodox Church declares the invasion of Ukraine to be a “Holy War”? Well, for one thing, you can expect a church to get bombed on Easter Sunday.

Since the beginning of this unprovoked full-scale invasion, Moscow has shown an utter disregard for any rules of military conflict, for any conventions as to the treatment of prisoners of war, for any moral principles, and for any human life whatsoever. The depravity of its armed forces is without limit. That’s why Ukraine must be given all the support it needs to drive the invaders out of its sovereign territory. Anything less will only allow this evil that has been unleashed to fester and grow.

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