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Putin cynically claims Russia “always treated prisoners of war with dignity”

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Following reports of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) being shot after their positions were captured, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin cynically stated that Russia “has always adhered to international legal documents and conventions” concerning the treatment of prisoners of war.

Source: Putin during a meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, as reported by Russian state-owned media

Details: The president of the aggressor country stated that Russian troops should continue to treat prisoners of war in “strict accordance with certain international legal documents and international conventions.” He also stated that the Russians “always acted like this,” implying that the prisoners were treated “with dignity.”

Putin instructed Shoigu to “adhere to the same practice” on the Avdiivka front.

In general, he stated that the situation in Avdiivka “needs to be developed further.”

Background: 

  • On 16 February, Ukraine’s forces moved away from Zenit, a key defence position in the south of Avdiivka, to save lives and improve the operational situation. On Sunday 18 February, relatives of some seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers who were taken prisoner after Russian forces captured the Zenit position in Avdiivka recognised their loved ones’ bodies in a video circulating on Russian social media.

  • On 19 February, the 110th Separate Mechanised Brigade named after General Marko Bezruchko, which had been defending Avdiivka, reported that wounded Ukrainian soldiers who were surrounded in the Zenit defence position were shot by the Russians despite a promise to evacuate them.

  • On 20 February, a video footage showing the execution of three Ukrainian defenders, held captive by Russian military personnel, was posted on the Internet. Ukraine’s Security Service and prosecutors said they were looking into the shooting.

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