A horrifying video circulating online that appears to show Russian soldiers castrating a Ukrainian prisoner was deemed authentic by monitors and fact-checkers, as was the subsequent video showing the execution of the mutilated victim.
The video was initially posted to a pro-Russian channel on the Telegram messaging app, where it was picked up by international media outlets including The Guardian.
It shows a Russian soldier approaching another figure — wearing blue and yellow patches identifying him as Ukrainian — who has his hands bound and is lying face down with the back of his trousers cut away.
The Russian soldier, who is wearing blue surgical gloves, then proceeds to mutilate the prisoner with a green-handled knife as other Russian-speaking soldiers cheer him on.
The video's date could not be confirmed.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission said that another video shows the Russian soldiers shoot the Ukrainian in the head and drag him into a ditch.
Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s eastern Europe and central Asia director, said the footage “was yet another apparent example of complete disregard for human life and dignity in Ukraine committed by Russian forces."
Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said that "all the world needs to understand: Russia is a country of cannibals who enjoy torture and murder. But the fog of war will not help to avoid the punishment of the executioners."