Two videos of beheadings of Ukrainian soldiers surfaced on social media last week. The videos are from different events. One of them was filmed very recently, and the other, from the amount of greenery visible on the ground, appears to have been filmed during the summer.
First video Posted on April 8 on a pro-Russia social media channel. It was allegedly filmed by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group and appears to show the decapitated corpses of two Ukrainian soldiers lying on the ground next to a destroyed military vehicle.
In the video, a voice is heard, behind the camera, the sound is distorted and the speaker is unrecognizable.
“[El vehículo blindado] It was cut off by a mine,” the voice says in Russian.
Referring to the bodies on the ground, the voice continued to laugh: “They were killed. Someone approached them. They approached them and cut off their heads.
The hands of the dead soldiers were also apparently chopped off.
Russian social media accounts say the video was filmed near Pakmut in eastern Ukraine, which has been the scene of heavy fighting for months, with Wagner fighters heavily involved. CNN cannot independently confirm the location of the video.
Second video, which was posted on Twitter and is very blurry, was shot during summer due to the greenery on the ground. It was intended to show a Russian soldier using a knife to decapitate a Ukrainian soldier. A voice at the beginning of the video says that the victim may still be alive when the brutal attack begins.
Shortly after the videos surfaced, Andriy Yermak, one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top advisers, He tweeted that: “Everything will be responsible.”
Everything has an answer and responsibility.
– Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) April 11, 2023
The Ukrainian government’s official Telegram channel said the tweet was a direct reference to “another execution video released by the Russians”.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Wagner was “allegedly committing war crimes by beheading Ukrainian soldiers in Pakmut,” after a photo shared on pro-Russian social media showed what appeared to be a head. Mounted on a pickaxe they said belonged to a Ukrainian soldier. The ISW reported similar incidents in Popasna in the Luhansk region, where Wagner’s troops had also operated earlier in the war.
Some pro-Russian social media accounts have attributed the beheadings to Ukrainian forces in an attempt to conceal identity. It echoes a similar claim made by Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin in January.