[guest post by Dana]
Nothing but horror for Ukraine as two separate videos have been released and the first one show two beheaded corpses, and a second video shows a Ukrainian soldier being beheaded:
The first video, which was posted to a pro-Russian social media channel on April 8, was purportedly filmed by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group and appears to show the beheaded corpses of two Ukrainian soldiers lying on the ground next to a destroyed military vehicle.
In the video, a voice can be heard, behind the camera, the sound seemingly distorted to prevent the speaker’s identification.
“(The armored vehicle) got f**ked by a mine,” the voice, speaking Russian, says.
Apparently referring to the bodies on the ground, the voice, laughing, continues, “They killed them. Someone came up to them. They came up to them and cut their heads off.”
The dead soldiers also appear to have had their hands cut off.
Observers say that the video was filmed in Bakhmut.
Details about the second video:
The second video…was posted on Twitter and is heavily blurred, looks to have been filmed during the summer because of the amount of plant life on the ground. It purports to show a Russian fighter using a knife to cut off the head of a Ukrainian soldier. A voice at the beginning of the video suggests the victim might have still been alive when the attack began.
There is also this:
On Monday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that Wagner was “reportedly continuing to commit war crimes by beheading Ukrainian servicemen in Bakhmut,” referencing a photo shared on pro-Russian social media sites showing what appeared to be a severed head, which they claimed belonged to a Ukrainian soldier, mounted on a spike.
The ISW has reported similar incidents in Popasna, in the Luhansk region, where Wagner troops were also operating earlier in the war.
Of course, the Wagner terrorist group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin denies that any of his fighters were involved in the atrocities. And the terrorist state of Russia cast doubt on the veracity of the videos…because, as we all know, the Kremlin always values and promotes accuracy in reporting, especially when it comes to their…less than humane behavior.
President Zelensky blasted the Russian “beasts,” while Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called on the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court’s Office to “immediately pay attention to another atrocity committed by the Russian military” as investigations into war crimes:
The execution of a Ukrainian captive…
This is a video of Russia as it is. This is a video of 🇷🇺 trying to make just that the new norm.
Everyone must react. Every leader. Don't expect it to be forgotten.
We are not going to forget anything. The defeat of 🇷🇺 terror is necessary. pic.twitter.com/H8Or6HJnYW
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 12, 2023
“We are not going to forget anything. Neither are we going to forgive the murderers. There will be legal responsibility for everything. The defeat of terror is necessary. No one will understand if the leaders don’t react. Action is required now!” he said.
I think that Olena Halushka has it right:
The videos of russians murdering unarmed POWs are just the tip of the iceberg. How many crimes were never filmed? Savage atrocities are daily reality at the occupied territories. Everybody who pushes for an alleged peace in exchange for Ukrainian lands want this hell to never end
It’s inconceivable that some world leaders claim to be “neutral” in this war, or have pledged “non-involvement” in the face of barbarity directed by a brutal dictator accused of war crimes. Just how bad would things have to get, how brutally inhumane would Russia have to be before these leaders would support Ukraine in any way possible? I know I keep beating the same old drum, but every world leader, especially in the West, should be completely ashamed of turning a blind eye to what Russia is doing.
If you think that the beheading of a screaming Ukrainian soldier has nothing to do with Medvedev's tweet explaining why Ukraine should not exist, or with a priest on state TV saying that Ukrainian infidels should have their throats cut according to the Old Testament, think again.
— Oleksandr Polianichev (@OPolianichev) April 12, 2023
Meanwhile, while Prigozhin is claiming that his Wagner group had seized more than 80% of Bakhmut, Kyiv says that in actuality, Ukraine controls 20% of the city. However, Poland claims that their analysis bears out Russia’s claims. Ukraine and Russia are in the midst of a brutal fight for control in Bakhmut:
[Ukrainian] soldiers have been pushed into a shrinking half-circle of ruins that is only about 20 blocks wide. It continually deploys small units in close-range urban combat, sustaining significant casualties. Ukrainian soldiers said they were often close enough to hear Russians talking in nearby buildings.
Kyiv Independent is also reporting some discouraging news for Ukraine: “In an interview with the New York Times, Morawiecki said that Russia has far more artillery shells and is firing far more rounds on the battlefield each month than the Ukrainian army. He said South Korea has a “huge supply of artillery shells and could help. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he believes that only the direct intervention of President Biden would lead to an agreement for South Korea to make its artillery shells available to Ukraine.”
I want to leave you with an excerpt from Tamar Jacoby’s analysis, Why Ukraine Fights. It’s hard to select just one excerpt because all of it is enlightening in its examination of Ukrainian’s national identity and motivations at this particular moment in their history. You may or may not agree with all of it, but please give it a read. (You may have to subscribe, I’m not sure. If so, then do so!).
Even after Maidan and Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and Donbas, the two cultures, Russian and Ukrainian, remained deeply intertwined, often in complex, ambiguous ways. “There was a constant blending and blurring,” Andrieiev, the blogger, explained. “You could be a Ukrainian-speaking patriot and still quote Russian writers, listen to Russian music and have friends and relatives in Russia. But already in the wake of Maidan, more and more people began searching for a more distinctly Ukrainian identity.”
Fast forward to 2022, and that trickle has become a flood. What once seemed acceptable—the old cultural blending and blurring—is now seen as intolerable. The overwhelming majority of Ukrainians want to sever all ties to Russia. And as often as not, the change has been bottom-up—with the government following from behind to endorse or codify popular will.
The key elements of this identity are a long, albeit uneven, experience with ethnic pluralism, an ingrained egalitarianism, deep distrust of authority, and now, after 30 years of independence and a brutal war, a fierce longing to join democratic Europe. This, every bit as much as land, is what Ukrainians are fighting for.
Still, in the end, as Ukrainians know all too well from past efforts to break away from Russia, winning the peace may prove as difficult as winning the war. What kind of country will emerge in Ukraine when the fighting stops? How will the political culture and national identity be reshaped by war?
“The serious debates haven’t started yet,” Oksana Forostyna conceded. “This is not a good time to ask unpleasant questions. But sooner or later, we will have to.”