A Ukrainian official promised an "immediate investigation" on Sunday after graphic videos made the rounds on social media over the weekend, reportedly showing beaten and bloodied captured Russian soldiers being shot in the legs by Ukrainian forces.
"The government is taking this very seriously, and there will be an immediate investigation," senior presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in an interview on Sunday. "We are a European army, and we do not mock our prisoners. If this turns out to be real, this is absolutely unacceptable behavior."
"I would like to remind all our military, civilian, and defense forces once again that the abuse of prisoners is a war crime that has no amnesty under military law and has no statute of limitations," Arestovych said in a separate video statement released on Sunday.
In stark contrast to the statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's adviser, the head of the armed forces of Ukraine accused Russia of "staging" the video and warned the public only to trust "official sources."
"In order to discredit the Ukrainian defense forces, the enemy is filming and distributing staging videos with inhumane attitude of 'Ukrainian military' to 'Russian prisoners,'" Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander in chief of the armed forces of Ukraine, said in a statement.
"I urge you to take into account the realities of the information and psychological war and trust only official sources," Zaluzhnyi's statement continued. "The enemy produces and shares with the inhuman treatment of alleged 'Russian prisoners' by 'Ukrainian soldiers' in order to discredit Ukrainian Defence Forces."
In one video, what appears to be Ukrainian soldiers are seen unloading what are purportedly captured Russian soldiers from a van. Seconds later, the three men unloaded from the van appear to be shot in the legs one by one by the same soldier.
In another clip, coverings over the heads of allegedly wounded POWs are removed to reveal soldiers with dazed looks and swollen faces. Many of the soldiers appear to be covered in blood, and some appear to have broken legs.
The authenticity of the videos has not been independently verified, and the exact location of where the videos were filmed is unclear.
The video may be of a Russian reconnaissance group captured in the Kharkiv region, according to a report.
Russian officials denounced the videos on Sunday.
"Footage appeared on the Internet in which prisoners were treated with extreme cruelty by Ukrainian nationalists. The video circulating online shows captured soldiers, being shot in both legs and not given medical assistance. According to some reports, illegal actions took place at one of the bases of the Ukrainian nationalists in Kharkiv region," A.I. Bastrykin, head of the Russian Federation Investigative Committee, said in a statement.