The United States has “credible information” that Russian forces executed Ukrainians who were trying to surrender near Donetsk, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
“We now have credible information that a Russian military unit operating in the vicinity of Donetsk executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender, rather than take them into custody,” Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, Beth Van Schaack, told a United Nations meeting.
“If true, this would be in violation of a core principle of the law of war: the prohibition against the summary execution of civilians and of combatants who are hors de combat by virtue of surrender, injury, or other forms of incapacitation,” she added.
Van Schaack also told the U.N. Security Council that the United States has credible reports and photos of individuals killed "execution-style" with their hands bound, including bodies showing signs of torture and “horrific” accounts of sexual violence against women and girls.
“These images and reports suggest that atrocities are not the result of rogue units or individuals; they, rather, reveal a deeply disturbing pattern of systematic abuse across all areas where Russia’s forces are engaged,” she said Wednesday.
Van Schaack said the Untied States has seen Russian forces inflict “massive brutality” across Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion on Feb. 24.
“The United States has assessed that Russia’s forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine. This assessment is based on a careful and rigorous review of public sources and also intelligence sources,” she told the United Nations meeting.
Reports of killings in the Donetsk region come as cities have been hit by heavy shelling in recent weeks.
Officials said at least 39 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in an attack on a railway station packed with women and children in the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region on April 8.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk region, said thousands of Ukrainian civilians were waiting to be evacuated from the station at the time of the attack.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian forces of deliberately targeting civilians, although Russia quickly denied that it had done so, with a statement from the Russian defense ministry accusing Ukraine of “provocation.”
“All statements by representatives of the Kyiv nationalist regime about the ‘rocket attack’ allegedly carried out by Russia on April 8 at the railway station in the city of Kramatorsk are a provocation and are absolutely untrue,” the ministry said at the time.
The ministry also claimed the missiles deployed in the attack on the railway station “are used only by the Ukrainian armed forces.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.