Video footage purporting to show the torture of Russian prisoners of war is being investigated by the Ukrainian government.
The footage, which has not been verified, appears to show Ukrainian soldiers pulling three hooded Russians out of a van before shooting them in the legs.
Ukraine’s military commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, accused Russia of staging the videos.
“The enemy is producing and sharing videos of the inhumane treatment of alleged ‘Russian prisoners’ by ‘Ukrainian soldiers‘ in order to discredit the Ukrainian Defense Forces,” Zaluzhnyi said.
However, the Kyiv government said it took the allegations of mistreatment “very seriously” and that there would be an immediate investigation.
Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said: “We are a European army and we don’t make fun of our prisoners. If this turns out to be real, this is absolutely unacceptable behavior.
Arestovitch added: “I would like to remind all of our military, civilian and defense forces once again that prisoner abuse is a war crime that has no amnesty under military law and has no no limitation period.”
Oleksander Motuzyanyk, a Ukrainian military spokesman, said they did not know who was involved or where the incidents took place.
“Currently, no one can confirm or deny the veracity of this video,” he said. “We don’t know where it’s happening or who the participants are.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the “monstrous images” must be legally assessed and those who participated in them must be held accountable.
The footage emerged as Ukrainian forces scored significant battlefield victories on Monday, with the local mayor of Irpin saying the town, located on the northwestern outskirts of Kyiv, had been recaptured.
Oleksandr Markushyn said: “We have good news today – Irpin has been released. We understand that there will be further attacks on our city and we will bravely defend it.
In Kharkiv, the mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said the war was turning against the Russians despite his city being shelled for weeks.
He said: “People have started to return to Kharkiv. First and foremost, they are men who have taken their families to safety and are now returning to defend their hometowns by joining the Territorial Defense Forces. Moreover, sometimes even entire families return. Now we have the opportunity to evacuate people, but there are almost no takers.
He said at last count the Russians had destroyed or damaged 1,177 residential buildings, 53 kindergartens, more than 50 schools and 10 hospitals.
He said: “Anyway, the whole city functions as an integral whole. Volunteers and police deliver humanitarian aid to the site of incessant bombardment. We are all united for a common cause. Kharkiv lives and works.