Warning: Some readers may find the descriptions in this article disturbing.
A video posted online and verified by the New York Times appears to show troops fighting under a Ukrainian banner shooting what is believed to be a captured Russian soldier outside of a village west of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
In the clip, which was posted online on Monday, the Russian soldier is seen with a jacket pulled over his head, apparently wounded but still breathing, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.
“He’s still alive. Film these marauders. Look, he’s still alive. He’s gasping,” a man is heard saying.
A soldier then shoots the man twice. He shoots him a third time after he continues to move. The wounded man then goes still.
Three other soldiers thought to be Russians can be seen dead nearby, one with a head wound and his hands tied behind his back.
The Times reported that the purported Ukrainian soldiers are identifiable by their flag patch and blue armbands. They are heard saying “glory to Ukraine” multiple times.
The dead soldiers are wearing camouflage and white armbands commonly worn by Russian troops. They are lying a few feet from a BMD-2, an infantry fighting vehicle used by the Russian airborne unit, according to the newspaper.
The video was filmed north of the village of Dmytrivka, which is about 11km (seven miles) from Bucha, according to the Times. In Bucha, Ukrainian authorities say they have discovered hundreds of corpses of civilians after Russian forces withdrew from the area. The images of bodies lining the streets of Bucha have shocked the international community and reignited calls for a war crimes investigation.
Executing captured enemy soldiers would also constitute a war crime.
There was no immediate comment by Ukrainian authorities.
Reporting from Moscow, Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari said the video represents “the first time we’ve seen footage that’s been verified by Western media of Russian soldiers being killed by allegedly Ukrainian forces”.
Russia has been repeatedly accused of spreading misinformation to bolster support for the invasion at home; the video follows weeks of allegations from officials that Russian soldiers have been the victim of atrocities in Ukraine.
“We also heard from the Russian defence ministry on Wednesday, who said that they have heard of accounts by Russian soldiers of torture at the hands of Ukrainian forces,” Jabbari said, “and they are urging international … organisations to get involved to investigate the accusations.”
The apparent killing of the Russian soldiers follows an ambush on a Russian column around March 30 amid an ongoing withdrawal from areas surrounding Kyiv, the Times reported.
Ukraine’s defence ministry had previously tweeted about the destruction of the Russian convoy, calling it “precise work”.
A Ukrainian news agency that posted a video in the wake of the ambush described those behind it as members of the “Georgian Legion”, a paramilitary unit of volunteers from Georgia that formed in 2014.
However, one man is heard referring to the Ukrainian fighters as “Belgravia lads”, possibly referring to the Belgravia housing development located near where the incident took place, according to the Times.
Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, initially making an advance on Kyiv and its surrounding areas.
In recent days, Moscow has been repositioning troops away from Kyiv to focus on capturing the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.