Russian state news agency RIA Novosti has shared a video showing Ukrainian prisoners of war (POW) being forced to swear an allegiance to Moscow.
Russia are sending the Ukrainian POWs to “the frontline” to “fight their own army” and the video was released on 7 November.
The Kyiv Post reported that a Ukrainian POWs, named in the Ria Novosti article as Vladislav Kovalenko, said, “We have already given an oath to the Ukrainian people, but we have not betrayed the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian people are now hostages of the criminal Kiev regime… the Ukrainian people and the Russian people are one whole.”
Ria said that Russia has created a “volunteer battalion” named after Russia’s 15th-century hero in February and the Ukrainian POWs were seen in Russian uniform and with rifles.
Read more on Russia-Ukraine war:
Ria claims, “A volunteer battalion named after Bogdan Khmelnitsky was created in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
“It was formed from prisoners of war of the Ukrainian troops, one of the unit commanders, Andrei Tishchenko, told RIA Novosti.
Sharing a news alert, Ria wrote on Telegram, “The first battalion of former Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers – the volunteer battalion named after Bohdan Khmelnytsky – entered service in the Russian operational combat tactical formation ‘Cascade,’ battalion commander Andrey Tishchenko told RIA Novosti.
Human Rights Watch, senior researcher Yulia Gorbunova, said, “Russian authorities might claim they are recruiting them on a voluntary basis but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where a prisoner of war’s decision could be taken truly voluntarily, given the situation of coercive custody.
Nick Reynolds, research fellow for Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute in London said the Ukrainian POWs are in “very difficult position,” he added, “The entire scenario is laced with the potential for coercion.
Experts has come out and said that such actions violates the Geneva Conventions relating to the treatment of POWs.
The convention says, “no prisoner of war may at any time be sent to or detained in areas where he may be exposed to the fire of the combat zone… nor shall they be employed on labor which is of an unhealthy or dangerous nature”
On Tuesday a second video was posted on the agency’s Telegram channel and news website which shows the Ukrainian POW volunteers swearing the following oath of allegiance to Russia.
Around 70 Ukrainian POWs said, “I solemnly swear allegiance to my Fatherland – the Russian Federation. I swear to sacredly observe the Constitution of the Russian Federation, strictly comply with the requirements of military regulations, orders of commanders and superiors. I swear to honorably fulfill military duty, courageously defend the freedom, independence and constitutional system of Russia, the people, and the Fatherland.”