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Kyiv outraged over videos claiming beheaded Ukrainian soldiers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed outrage over videos on social media showing Ukrainian soldiers beheaded by Russian troops. The footage of the alleged atrocities came after leaked documents revealed U.S. concerns about the war's progress despite the presence of Western special forces in Ukraine.

By Stefan J. Bos

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked world leaders to act as one video being circulated apparently shows the beheaded corpses of two Ukrainian soldiers.

They are seen lying on the ground next to a destroyed military vehicle. A voice says, "They killed them. Someone came up to them. They came up to them and cut their heads off."

Another clip, which may have been filmed in the summer of last year, claims to show a member of Russian forces using a knife to cut off the head of a Ukrainian soldier.

President Zelensky has asked the international community to condemn the footage. Yet well-informed Major General Robert Jones, a former senior British army officer, isn't surprised. "You know the Russian military and possibly, in this case, the [Russian paramilitary] Wagner group, have demonstrated their willful ignorance of the law of armed conflict. They've conducted horrific atrocities over the last 12 or 13 months. So sadly, we should not be surprised by this," he commented.  

There was more sad news for Ukraine: Leaked files paint a grim picture of Ukraine's medium-range air defenses to protect front-line troops saying they will be "completely reduced by May 23."

They suggest Russia could soon have aerial superiority, and Ukraine could lose the ability to amass ground forces in a counteroffensive.

The classified material, known as the Pentagon documents, also reveal scores of Western special military forces in Ukraine.

Britain has the largest contingent, with about 50 special forces in Ukraine, followed by fellow NATO military alliance states Latvia, France, the United States, and the Netherlands.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that the Department of Justice had opened a criminal investigation as the leaks could impact relations with foreign partners.

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12 April 2023, 15:53