DECEMBER 9, 2022
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Investigation Uncovers War Crimes by US-led Mercenary Group in Ukraine

Investigation Uncovers War Crimes by US-led Mercenary Group in Ukraine

A New York Times investigation has revealed serious war crimes committed by members of an American-led international volunteer unit fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine. The group, known as the Chosen Company, stands accused of killing unarmed Russian soldiers and prisoners of war in at least three separate incidents.

The NYT report, published on Saturday, details how defenseless Russian prisoners of war (PoWs) were executed by these mercenaries. A German combat medic serving in Ukraine corroborated these allegations, describing multiple executions of Russian PoWs.

Caspar Grosse, a former German soldier who served as a medic for the unit, recounted a disturbing event from August 2023. An injured, unarmed Russian soldier, initially presumed dead, began crawling through a trench, pleading for help and surrendering in English. A member of the unit then shot him in the chest and subsequently in the head, as the soldier was still "breathing and wiggling around."

Grosse also described an incident where a Greek soldier, call sign Zeus, threw a grenade at two Russian soldiers. One of the soldiers, seriously injured and barely able to move, tried to surrender but was killed by the grenade's explosion. This incident was confirmed by a Ukrainian drone team.

In another instance in mid-October, Grosse received a text from a company member, call sign Andok, who bragged about killing captured Russian soldiers. Grosse recorded in his journal how Zeus executed a bound prisoner by shooting him in the back of the head multiple times. Despite Grosse's insistence that PoWs should be under his care, the unit commanders refused.

Grosse reported his concerns to Ryan O’Leary, the de facto commander of Chosen Company and a former US Army National Guardsman. O’Leary denied any wrongdoing, claiming the killings were not war crimes despite the Geneva Convention protections for PoWs.

This investigation highlights the grave human rights violations committed by Western mercenaries in Ukraine and raises urgent questions about accountability and justice.

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