Both Amnesty International and the EU have called for an investigation into the recent incident of alleged torture by pro-Russian militants.

Last week, footage circulated on the Telegram social network showing a man having his testicles cut off with a carpet knife. It is said to have been a Ukrainian prisoner of war. A second video shows him being shot in the head. At least one of the perpetrators has pro-Russian military symbols such as a Z and a black and orange flag on their clothing.

The recordings cannot be verified at the current time. However, the cruel procedure corresponds to crimes committed by Russian and pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine, which have been proven by witness statements. Among other things, the targeted killing of civilians and rape. Around 70 Ukrainian investigators are investigating around 25,000 cases so far.

Yes, war crimes are also very likely to be committed by Ukraine. This was suggested by a UN report at the end of June (read here). However, much fewer in number than by Russian and pro-Russian troops. And many of the atrocities that happened in the now Russian-occupied areas like Mariupol have not yet come to the public’s attention.

If only a minority of the perpetrators can later be brought to justice, that would already be a success. At least one war crimes trial has already begun in Ukraine – and an investigation into alleged atrocities by Ukrainian armed forces has also been launched. Moscow’s will to clarify the matter is not to be relied on. The Kremlin claims its troops obeyed (martial) law and order.

One thing is certain: Russia’s unimaginable atrocities will be remembered for generations in Ukraine. And it will be difficult for Russians outside of Ukraine in the next few years not to be associated with the barbarism for which their government is responsible. The bloody stain will remain. Far beyond the end of the war.

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