Zelenskyy aide says Russia must pay after horrific video appears to show captive soldier being castrated

Zelenskyy aide says Russia must pay after horrific video appears to show captive soldier being castrated
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seen on March 10, 2022.Office of the President of Ukraine
  • Ukrainian officials condemned a video that appears to show Russian soldiers castrating a captive.
  • Experts largely concurred that the footage is plausible and shows a man being mutilated.

Ukrainian officials condemned a video that appears to show the castration of a Ukrainian captive by Russian soldiers.

Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun, who said her Twitter account was briefly suspended when she shared it, wrote: "This is what happens. And deleting the video won't change that. People should know what #Russia is doing!"

She told Insider: "I wish I could turn back time and not see this video. But we knew that this was happening in the occupied territories. The Russian military rapes, mutilates, and kills Ukrainians, both civilians and POWs."

"That is why we are now asking the world to provide offensive weapons," she said. "We saw one case on video, but there are hundreds, or I'm afraid to assume thousands already."

Insider has reviewed the footage, an undated 95-second video appearing to show the mutilation of a man wearing Ukrainian army gear. According to The Times of London, it first emerged on pro-Russian Telegram accounts. Insider is not reproducing or linking to the video due to its graphic nature.


Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, also tweeted about the video and said those responsible would be made to pay.

He wrote: "RF [Russian Federation] propagandists delightedly showed how a group of ru-tyrants crippled [a Ukrainian] captive ... we will identify and get to each of you."

Aric Toler, a researcher for Bellingcat, told The Times of London: "unfortunately the video is genuine."

The identities of the victim and perpetrators is not clear. Nor is a location or date.

In the video, apparently filmed on a cellphone, a man in Ukrainian uniform is bound by his feet and is pushed face down on the ground.


The seat of his pants have been cut away, showing his underwear. A man in a Russian army uniform, speaking Russian, stomps on the captive's head, and proceeds to cut open the underwear with a box cutter. In several stages he removes a chunk of flesh that, when held up to the camera, resemble male genitals.

A white car can be seen in the background marked with the "Z" insignia used by the Russian military.

Some details in the video provide a tentative match with a Russian soldier filmed in two previous clips from the invasion.

Both were published online in late June, both at an industrial area in Lisichansk, a city in the eastern region of Luhansk. Lisichansk was the last city in the region to fall under Russian control, in early July, according to Al-Jazeera.

The first video, uploaded to YouTube on June 27, appears to be from Russian state media agency RIA Novosti, while the second video was shared on the same day by the pro-Russian Telegram channel "War Chronicle."


In all three videos, a soldier wears a distinctive dark, brimmed hat decorated with white beads.

The soldier in the RIA Novosti video also wears a two-strand black bracelet with a silver-colored metal clasp on his left wrist — similar to a bracelet briefly seen worn on the same wrist in the torture video.

Toler noted on Twitter that the hat is not difficult to buy online, but said the bracelet made it "a pretty open and shut match."

Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Friday in apparent response to the video, condemning "particularly horrible cases of torture" and "inhuman treatment" by Russia.

It also called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court, while the Prosecutor General's office announced it has "initiated criminal proceedings" in response.


Ukrainian journalist Olga Tokariuk, speaking in a Twitter Space on Friday, said the video had horrified Ukrainians and became a major topic of conversation when it emerged.

It has also prompted international outrage. Senior Policy Advisor Paul Massaro, in seeming reference to the video, tweeted that such crimes represent "unmitigated evil."

Australian former Major General Mick Ryan tweeted that the video shows that "the Russian Army is professionally corrupt & morally bankrupt." He also noted that torture of captured combatants violates the Geneva Conventions.