From left to right: footballer Mykhailo Mudryk, tennis player Elina Svitolina and boxer Oleksandr UsykOther

Ukraine’s top athletes have paid defiant tributes to a Ukrainian prisoner of war (POW) shown apparently being killed by Russian troops in a video that has shocked the nation.

The unarmed prisoner is seen smoking in a trench. “Glory to Ukraine!” he says, before being shot.

Tennis star Elina Svitolina, Chelsea footballer Mykhailo Mudryk and others responded with “Glory to the Heroes!” in their video tribute.

It is a battle cry in Ukraine’s army.

The saying became popular among ordinary Ukrainians after Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula in 2014. It has seen a resurgence after Moscow’s full-scale invasion launched last year.

In the tribute video posted online, Ukrainian athletes representing several sports appear one-by-one saying “Glory to the Heroes!”

It comes after a passionate call by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I want us all to respond to his words together, in unity: ‘Glory to the Hero! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to Ukraine!'” he said earlier this week.

Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Taras Stepanenko, who plays for Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk feature in the video. Legendary former player and now coach Serhiy Rebrov is also shown.

Separately, Ukraine’s heavyweight world champion, Oleksandr Usyk, recorded a video of himself reciting a poem dedicated to the shot soldier, whose identity remains unclear.

“”Glory to Ukraine! – for these words you got a bullet,” he reads. “You’re no more – but memory is eternal of you, fighter”.

The graphic video first emerged on social media on Monday.

In the footage, one of the shooters – believed to be a Russian soldier – is heard saying “die” and using an expletive after the POW is shot dead with automatic weapons.

Screenshot from the video purportedly showing Ukrainian prisoner of war

Screenshot video

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s military named the soldier as Tymofiy Shadura, citing preliminary information.

However, there is some doubt over his identity, with one well-known Ukrainian journalist naming him as somebody else.

The alleged killer or killers – who are not seen in the clip – have not been identified.

The BBC has not verified where and when the footage was made, or how the soldier was captured.

Ukraine’s authorities have said the killing is “another proof this war is genocidal” and launched a criminal investigation, vowing to hunt down the perpetrators.

Russia has not publicly commented on the video.

Kyiv and its Western allies have accused Russian troops of committing mass war crimes – including torture, rape and murder – since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion. Russia denies the allegations.

Last July, a video emerged that showed another captured Ukrainian soldier being castrated in the Russian-occupied Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

There have also been accusations against Ukrainian forces, with Moscow accusing soldiers of executing a group of Russian prisoners in November.

A Ukrainian official said the surrender was “staged” by Russian troops in an attempt to attack their captors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP Radio
WP Radio