Observers France:

A video shared widely online as early as March 27 purports to show, according to its caption on YouTube, Ukrainian soldiers shooting Russian prisoners of war (POW) in their legs. The FRANCE 24 Observers team analysed the video and was able to pinpoint its location. Despite some suggestions that the scene was staged, we have found no evidence to question the authenticity of the events shown in the video. 

There are videos that you can find of this online, that I refuse to play on this site, for the same reason that I refuse to show pictures of corpses, except for very specific political purposes. That imagery has its time and place, but it just doesn’t feel appropriate right now for this site.

In its entirety, the video is 3 minutes and 38 seconds long. It shows men in military uniforms wearing white armbands lying on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs, they’re visibly seriously injured. One of the men has a white bag over his head. 

The person filming reveals the man’s face, which shows him in agony. At the end of the video, three more prisoners get out of a civilian vehicle. One of the men, wearing a blue armband, fires a gun at these prisoners’ legs at close range. These men fall to the ground and the video ends. 

The armband colours are going to be extremely important for tomorrow mornings scheduled piece. White means Russian, Blue means Ukrainian.

The head of the Ukrainian armed forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi claimed on March 27 that Russia was “filming and distributing staged videos” of inhumane treatment of Russian POWs with the aim of discrediting the Ukrainian armed forces.

However, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, announced in an interview posted on Telegram that the Ukrainian government would investigate the events shown in this video. In a post on his Instagram account, he added: “I would like to remind our soldiers, civilians and defence forces that mistreating prisoners of war is a war crime.”

They started off by pretending this was “Russian Disinformation.” Unfortunately, it’s video evidence, so there’s only so far they can get with this “it’s all staged in Russian Hollywood,” line. I don’t know what language the soldiers are speaking in those clips, but there are enough people who know enough about the situation to verify the reality of what we watched. They also get into location indicators, which verifies this further.

The potential geolocation of this video was proposed by an online investigator. The FRANCE 24 Observers team was able to independently verify this localisation, to confirm that the video was indeed filmed at a dairy plant in Malaya Rohan‘, a village less than 10 km east of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Kharkiv has been under siege by Russian forces since the invasion began on February 24. 

Ukrainian forces recaptured the town of Malaya Rohan’ on March 28, according to AFP.

Although we can determine the video’s location, it’s more difficult to ascertain exactly when the video was taken. We do know that the first time the video appeared online was on March 27.

Plus, there are no traces of snow on the ground or on nearby objects in the video. Weather records from Kharkiv indicate that the region was covered in snow between February 24 and March 11. Therefore, it’s likely that the video was filmed at some point between March 11 and 27. 

They stress what I told you earlier, about blue and white armbands.

Blue and white armbands

Men wearing white and blue armbands in the video suggest that the video was taken during the current conflict, during which Russian forces have often identified themselves with white armbands, while Ukrainians have worn blue or yellow armbands. 

Almost all the men who are bound on the floor in this video are wearing white armbands, while the soldiers who are mistreating and shooting at them wear blue armbands.

We then get to see more claims of “Russian Disinformation,” being debunked by actual experts.

On March 28, a pro-Ukrainian Twitter account posted a 10-second excerpt of the video, in higher quality. The post’s caption said in Russian: “These men deserve an Oscar! Remember the video with the shots in the legs? Here’s a repeat performance.”

Two days later, the same account posted a montage of edited clips of the video with the caption, “Ready for the details? Part 2”. It claims to show evidence of blank bullets, fake wounds and actors to prove that the incident was staged by Russians to discredit Ukrainian forces. 

There’s no blood in the video and the men don’t moan or scream after being shot. But according to experts interviewed by the BBC, this can happen: lack of blood is sometimes a feature of a gunshot wound, especially on someone with a tourniquet, and the men may not have cried out due to shock.

There is something extremely satisfying about seeing these fake “fact-checkers,” getting debunked by actual experts. Especially when they’re whining about “Russian Disinformation.” According to Zelensky-Enjoyers, when people get shot in the legs, unless they scream out “oh my god I just got shot in my leg,” and there’s a huge spurt of blood, then it’s not actually real. Inform yourself, bigot.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on in Ukraine-land. Tomorrow morning we cover the exploits of the Ghost of Kiev in Bucha.

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