Ukrainian officials have never claimed that Russian soldiers in Makiivka were killed by a mine

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Original article (in Bosnian) was published on 06/12/2022

Videos from the battlefield in the Ukrainian village of Makiivka have captured the world’s attention, and Russian officials are accusing the Ukrainians of war crimes. Domestic media, however, incorrectly state that the Ukrainian side defends itself against the accusations by claiming that the soldiers in the footage were killed by a mine.

A compilation of videos showing scenes from the battlefield in Ukraine captured the attention of the world public. The first shot shows ten Russian soldiers one by one, some of them with their hands raised, coming out of the ruined house and lying on the floor. At the moment when the 11th person leaves the ruined house, shots are heard and the first shot ends there. The second shot in the compilation shows the bodies of dead Russian soldiers.

Shortly after the recordings appeared, Russian and Ukrainian institutions also spoke out. The recordings, with different interpretations, were shared in the media and on social networks in our language. On November 18, 2022, Kurir published an article entitled “Moscow claims that Ukrainians killed Russian prisoners”, but also that “Kyiv claims that they were killed by a mine”.

NEW HORRIFIC VIDEO FROM THE WARFIELD: Moscow claims that Ukrainian soldiers killed 11 prisoners, and Kyiv that they were killed by a mine

After recounting the recordings, the article conveys the statements of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, as well as the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova, in which the Ukrainians are accused of war crimes.

The Ministry of Defense of Russia announced that the Ukrainian army deliberately killed ten captured Russian soldiers. They state that this is not the first and not a single war crime, but a common practice in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Moscow demands that international organizations condemn the shooting of Russian prisoners of war and conduct a thorough investigation, said the spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova. Her words are shared on the agency’s website.

– We demand from international organizations to condemn this terrible crime and to conduct a thorough investigation – the message states.

Only one sentence is dedicated to the alleged reaction of the “Ukrainian side”, which was also announced in the title and which states the following:

On the other hand, the Ukrainian side claims that the soldier who opened fire and refused to surrender was killed while the others were killed by a mortar shell.

The article does not specify who the “Ukrainian side” is, that is, who allegedly made the statement claiming that Russian soldiers were killed by a mortar shell. What has been stated is that “Moscow does not believe in Kyiv’s claims”. An article with almost identical content was published by Alo, Vesti-rs, Republika and Volim Podgoricu.

On November 21, 2022, the web portal Politika published a similar article, in which it was also stated that the Ukrainians announced that “the Russians were killed by a mortar shell”.

The Ukrainians responded by claiming that the Russians were killed by a mortar shell that fell among them.

The same article was published on the same day by the web portal Serbian Times.

What are the facts?

The aforementioned videos and the scenes they show have been covered by numerous world media, including CNN,  New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, Al Jazeera, ABC News and Moscow Times. As can be seen from these reports, Russian officials indeed accused the Ukrainians of war crimes and of intentionally killing soldiers who surrendered.

The incident from the footage, they say, happened on November 12 in the village of Makiivka in the Luhansk region.

However, numerous Ukrainian officials also spoke out about the murder of Russian soldiers: Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets, an adviser from the cabinet of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Oleksiy Arestovych, as well as Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna. However, none of the mentioned Ukrainian officials ever mentioned anything about mortar shells.

The first Ukrainian official to speak was Dmytro Lubinets, who, as stated in the Moscow Times article from November 20, 2022, said that it is possible that Russian soldiers faked the surrender, and then opened fire, thereby committing an act of perfidy or fraud.

Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said that “snippets” of the video show that the Russians, “using a staged surrender… committed a war crime by opening fire on the Ukrainian armed forces”.

This means that soldiers “cannot be considered prisoners of war”, he asserted.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna did not say anything about mortar shells either. As the web portal AP News stated on November 20, 2022, she said that the Ukrainian authorities will investigate the video.

“Of course, the Ukrainian authorities will investigate this video”, Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister overseeing the country’s efforts to join the European Union, said on the sidelines of a security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Stefanishyna, speaking late Saturday, said it was “unlikely” that the short, edited clips show what Moscow claims.

According to Politico, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser from the cabinet of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in an online interview published on YouTube on November 19 that “you are not a hero if you decide to surrender and then suddenly pull out your weapon”. According to Politico, he said Ukrainian officials would investigate the videos, but did not mention any mortar shells.

Thus, the official Ukrainian side, defending itself against accusations of war crimes, never stated that the Russian soldiers from the videos were killed by a mortar shell.

BBC Serbia states, among other things, that such claims circulated on social networks. However, neither BBC Serbia nor any other credible media, attributed such statements to the “Ukrainian side”, that is, to “Kyiv”, as claimed by Kurir and Politika.

Given the facts, Kurir’s statement that “Kyiv claims” that the Russian soldiers from the video “died from a mine” is considered fake news considering that none of the Ukrainian officials said such a thing. All transmissions of Kurir’s article are rated as distribution of fake news.

Politika’s statement that “the Ukrainians responded by claiming that the Russians died from a mortar shell” is also considered fake news, and all transmissions of this article are rated as the distribution of fake news.