Archive (August 2014): Russian Soldiers Commit Torture & War Crimes In Ukraine

A Ukrainian POW captured in Shakhtars’k 31st July 2014 is paraded in front of cameras / © RIA Novosti

Russian ‘DNR’ Fighters Tortured and Committed War Crimes on their POW’s in South East Ukraine.

  • Extremely graphic video and photographic material shows evidence of torture and alleged war crimes being committed on three Ukrainian POW paratroopers by fighters of the Donetsk People’s Republics (DNR) rebel forces in Shakhtarsk on 31st July: a clear breach of International humanitarian law and the Geneva convention.
  • One Ukrainian POW was filmed and photographed being ‘forced’ to drag at least one deceased Ukrainian paratrooper from the road; and dig what appear to be graves for his comrades.
  • The current whereabouts of all three POW’s are unknown.
  • One ‘DNR rebel’ fighter, DImitry Gritsyuk, a Russian citizen from St Petersburg, shot a graphic video and photographs of the battle aftermath, including ‘posing’ in one photo with his friends stood over the remains of a Ukrainian paratrooper, which were posted on YouTube and social media.
  • A pro-Russian website suggested one POW had died, posting a photo. He does look similar to the POW seen alive, but this cannot be 100% confirmed and remains a major question.
  • The dead Ukrainian soldiers appear to have been looted by DNR rebel fighters.
  • Proof Russia’s military is fighting on Ukrainian territory against the Ukrainian army: in this instance apparently under the guise of DNR rebels opposed to Kiev’s government. (herein referred to as ‘DNR rebels’)

Detailed Evidence

WARNING: The video & photo evidence is extremely graphic throughout

Date: 31st July 2014
Location: Shakhtars’k Шахтарськ : Donetsk region, Ukraine

Summary: Ukrainian army sustains ‘heavy losses’ in a battle in or near Shakhtar’k, SE Ukraine on 31st July, in an apparent ambush GRAD attack.

>WARNING: Very graphic content below this point


The GRAD attack on 31st July, according to reports here and here, DNR rebels killed 21 and injured 80 Ukrainian paratroopers of the 25th Brigade, including a claim to have killed the 2nd Battalion commander – a few km’s south of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash site area, west of Torez. Another, later report suggests 14 reported dead and 10 injured.

In the battle aftermath, video and photographs were published of DNR rebel soldiers ‘gloating’ over their ‘victory.’

Dimitry Gritsyuk, a Russian paratrooper

One soldier, Dimitry Gritsyuk, a Russian citizen in the Russian military, posted images on his Vk account (graphic images now deleted) and took video, posted on YouTube:

This is a screen of the video he shot which he appears to have filmed shortly after arriving at the scene:
And this is the VERY GRAPHIC photo taken of Dimitry Gritsyuk and two fellow fighters crouched over a dead paratrooper which was posted on Dimitry Gritsyuk’s VK account (since deleted) but here is the original:

Further images of the aftermath:

More graphic photo ‘trophies’ of the scene were posted here.

The Three Ukrainian POW Paratroopers

A number of photographs taken by Andrei Stenin were published by Kremlin run RIA Novosti purporting to show at least three Ukrainian POW paratroopers being interrogated under duress, sometime soon after being captured by a DNR rebel force. Stenin photographed / documented this mistreatment for over 8 hours, according to the EXIF data on his images submitted to Ria Novosti’s database.
RIA Novosti (image 1)
RIA Novosti (image 2)
RIA Novosti (image 3)
RIA Novosti (image 4)
RIA Novosti (image 5)

These three Ukrainian POWs appear to be clearly under duress and in conjunction with numerous and lengthy videos posted on YouTube, it looks like they may have been ‘tortured.’

The above video also shows the man on left (also seen in image 1 on left) apparently arriving at a hospital (see 6:00), and is seen being treated:

Another video appears to show the same POW, in a bed asking for his mother to collect him. He claims to be in a Donetsk hospital when asked, and he gives his name as Andrey Ponasyuk (video unavailable any more).

It is unknown at this point whether Andrey Ponasyuk was released from the hospital, or where he is currently located.

However, this photograph below, which was posted here appears to show the same man in the RIA Novosti photographs / videos and was captioned as dead (screenshot):

When compared to the hi-resolution photo via RIA Novosti and the videos it appears to be the same person taking into account the facial features, including hair; and clothing appear to match:

However, until a body has been recovered or reliable information has been received regarding his status or whereabouts, the evidence is currently inconclusive to say that the POW seen alive, did in fact die.

Key question: Where is Andrey Ponasyuk and is there any conclusive proof he died?

POW forced to drag dead comrade and dig mass graves

The POW with the patch above his eye in the RIA Novosti photographs (images 3 & 4) was forced to drag at least one dead paratroopers body off the road; and dig mass graves for his dead comrades:

The video is here (first it shows a local man berating and spitting on the POW)
The same POW appears to have then dug a grave:

This POW also appears in this video with DNR rebel soldiers, who oversee him clearly being forced to dig mass graves – at 3:15 onward in embedded video:

 Looting the dead

Another video appears to show the DNR rebels looting from the dead..


There is a $200,000 reward for the capture of DImitry Gritsyuk, the Russian citizen and soldier from St Peterburg, according to this report:

Where are the three POW paratroopers now? 

And in particular…. what happened to Andrey Ponasyuk?

UPDATE 1 : Sergei Stenin, the RIA Novosti photojournalist who took many of the ‘torture’ photo’s herein has gone missing. Latest details here.

This is an ongoing investigation:

Information on this incident is urgently needed. If you can help please contact via Twitter. 

Further updates to follow….

Note: @djp3tros has done some additional investigation of the video & photographic evidence on Andrey Ponasyuk: He suggests Andrey Ponasyuk could be dead – evidence is presented here.


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