Russia-Ukraine war: Russian military commander POW claims forces were told 'Nazis' had overtaken Ukraine

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A Russian military commander and prisoner of war in Ukraine said he and his forces were led to believe they were invading the country because “nationalists, Nazis have seized power,” according to a video that surfaced Monday. 

Russian Lt. Col. Astakhov Dmitry Mikhailovich was flanked by two badly bruised men as he said they were told in Russia “that Ukraine’s territory is dominated by fascist’s regime,” according to video shared by Ukraine’s News Channel 24, via a translation from the New York Post. 

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“Nationalists, Nazi’s have seized power,” Mikhailovich went on, about what he and his troops were allegedly told. 

He added: “You are in a tense situation going against your own commander. But this is a genocide. The people are just killed.”

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He said he would go to jail or do “whatever we deserve.”

“We’re ready for everything.”

Mikhailovich likely made the allegations under a certain degree of duress and his statements cannot be verified.

Jonathan Turley, a legal analyst and Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, questioned Ukraine’s use of images of prisoners of war possibly violating the Geneva Conventions.

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“It is not clear who is in possession or took the videotapes of these POWs. Many citizens are joining the front lines in this fight. However, as difficult as it is in this fluid battlefield, Ukraine is under an obligation to seek adherence to the conventions,” he wrote in a blog post titled, “Does the Filming of the Russian POWs Violate the Geneva Conventions?” 

He added: “One answer cannot be that the Russians deserve it. The Conventions are only viable if they are applied evenly. If we apply the rules selectively, the Russians will claim the same exceptional status in their treatment of Ukrainian POWs.”

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has confirmed 406 civilians killed in Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion began. And 801 more civilians were injured as of midnight Sunday, the office said, noting that fighting has stymied accurate reporting and the numbers are actually higher. 

The U.N. human rights office says it has been able to confirm the deaths of 406 civilians in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

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It said that another 801 injured civilians had been confirmed as of midnight Sunday. The UN office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has confirmed.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have released higher casualty statistics. 

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