Video Russian prisoner of war goes viral
A video of a Russian officer apologizing to Ukraine is circulating on social media. He says he and his colleagues have been brainwashed, that genocide is taking place and apologizes for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But does he make his statements voluntarily? Or is this propaganda? And if so, should you share it?
The video is about a lieutenant colonel of the Russian National Guard. He sits behind a table with two colleagues and answers questions from those present in a room.
The talk was broadcast by the media company Unian, which is owned by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. He maintains close ties with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The video has now been shared millions of times on social media, including by Dutch users.
It is not the first time that the Ukrainian government has allowed images of Russian prisoners of war to be distributed via social media.
The Russian soldier says he is ashamed of the actions of the Russian troops and that there is a genocide in Ukraine. He also says that he and his colleagues have been brainwashed.
They had been told that in Ukraine neo-Nazis were in power and that they had to liberate the country. He realized that the situation in Ukraine was very different when he saw that even his favorite Ukrainian boxers had taken up arms.
Video goes viral on social media
During the ten-minute recording, it is mainly the lieutenant colonel speaking. The other two POWs, both wounded in the face, say almost nothing. The video is a few days old, but has been shared by many Western users on social media since last weekend.
It has now also been picked up by British and American media.
The big question is whether the soldier made his statements voluntarily. In an earlier short recording, he is handcuffed to watch. An interrogator forces him to say “Long live Ukraine”, which he does with visible reluctance.
In another clip, apparently shortly after his arrest, he answers questions while lying on a stretcher.
Video Russian prisoner of war goes viral, but is it a good idea to share it yourself?
Countries are forbidden to share videos of prisoners of war
Under the Third Geneva Convention, countries are strictly prohibited from exposing prisoners of war to “public curiosity”. The International Red Cross has issued a statement calling on the Ukrainian government to abide by the agreements made in Geneva in 1949.
In addition, it emphasized that under the protection of prisoners of war also means that no videos may be distributed on social media.
Andrew Stroehlein of human rights organization Human Rights Watch warned on Twitter against sharing the video, even if it seems that the Russian soldier means what he says.
Besides the fact that the recordings were distributed in violation of international law, it can also have consequences for the families of the prisoners of war if it becomes known that their loved ones are in detention.
Short thread on prisoners of war. Please share. 👉 Humiliating or making POWs a subject of public curiosity or ridicule is strictly prohibited by the laws of war. #Ukraine
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