Featured Image Credit: Channel 24
A captured Russian commander condemned Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and apologised to the people of Ukraine in a televised statement.
During the footage, which emerged yesterday, March 7, National Guard Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich says that troops were led to believe that 'Ukraine's territory is dominated by fascists' regime' and that forces were being sent to liberate it.
'Obviously, this information was unilateral information,' he added.
In the news conference, the commander says that he had 'doubts' about their military action but that he 'did not know the situation for sure'.
He added that he felt 'shame' for invading when learning that his 'favourite' boxers – Ukrainians Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko – were going to be fighting against them.
The commander then said, 'I don't know why we were doing it.'
He added that he expected to 'go to jail or whatever we deserve' but that he felt sorry for the people left in Russia who are 'not guilty' and are being misinformed of the situation.
The commander then continued to speak frankly about his decision to speak out, saying that while people may think he has been 'forced, intimidated' or that 'text was prepared in advance', in short, 'if someone came to my territory', he would do the same thing Ukrainians are currently doing.
He then appealed to Russian forces, saying, 'Guys, be brave, it's easier for me, I'm in this situation already, you are in a tense situation going against your own commander, but this is genocide.'
'The people are just killed,' he added, referring to Ukrainians and Russians caught on either side of the war.
He continued to say that 'Russia cannot win here', and pleaded for the war to stop before it's 'too late'.
The footage of the captured commander, as well as that of other Russian soldiers, has raised questions as to whether Ukraine is violating the Geneva Convention, which offers prisoners of war (POWs) protection.
Article 13 of the conventions stipulate 'Prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity. Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited'.
Short thread on prisoners of war. Please share.— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) March 3, 2022
👉 Humiliating or making POWs a subject of public curiosity or ridicule is strictly prohibited by the laws of war. #Ukraine
Andrew Stroehlein, European Media Director of Human Rights Watch, said that 'humiliating or making POWs a subject of public curiosity' is 'prohibited by the laws of war', as per the New York Post.
'Although it may seem in some videos that POWs are free to speak as they wish, they are held captive by another military force, and it’s almost impossible to judge from one video the conditions they face.'
The video comes as war continues in Ukraine, with around 1.2 million refugees said to have fled the country since the invasion commenced, as per The Guardian.
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