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The last many weeks (or even months) of Ukraine coverage by mainstream media has seen a major shift. One might observe that Western reporters are actually starting to do their jobs for a change, and digging into to ‘inconvenient’ truths and stories which a year ago no outlet would have touched amid the general pro-Kyiv euphoria.

A military correspondent with The New York Times has issued the newest bombshell report this weekend which shines a spotlight on not just Ukrainian troops but American and foreign fighters who’ve volunteered with pro-Kyiv forces and have committed potential war crimes. The report, titled Killings of Surrendering Russians Divide an American-Led Unit, reveals how US troops are participating in units which conduct extra-judicial killings of Russians who have legitimately surrendered.

Much of the eyewitness accounts come from a German volunteer identified as Caspar Grosse, a medic in an all-foreign unit led by an American who says he witnessed clear war crimes and that his conscience has forced him to speak out.

Foreign volunteer fighters in Ukraine, via War on the Rocks

He described how last August, a wounded, unarmed Russian soldier was seeking a peaceful surrender by crawling and calling out to Ukrainian front lines. Grosse relates to the Times that he “saw the soldier plead for medical attention in a mix of broken English and Russian. It was dusk. A team member looked for bandages.” And then he was shocked to observe the following turn of events:

That is when, Mr. Grosse said, a fellow soldier hobbled over and fired his weapon into the Russian soldier’s torso. He slumped, still breathing. Another soldier fired — “just shot him in the head,” Mr. Grosse recalled in an interview.

Mr. Grosse said he was so upset by the episode that he confronted his commander. He said he spoke to The New York Times after what he regarded as unwarranted killings continued.

The unit in question goes by the “Chosen Company” – widely considered the most reputable and well-known volunteer group of international troops. Grosse further verified this and other similar incidents in his journal, which he provided the Times.

But the outlet also had video evidence to go on which verified separate such killings. “In a second episode, a Chosen member lobbed a grenade at and killed a surrendering Russian soldier who had his hands raised, video footage reviewed by The Times shows,” it documents. “The Ukrainian military released video of the episode to showcase its battlefield prowess, but it edited out the surrender.” This means Ukraine’s military censors and these volunteer units are literally editing out clear war crimes before releasing to the world what amounts to official propaganda.

And given it was a “Chosen member” who lobbed the grenade, this means a foreign fighter is being singled out by the paper for the extrajudicial killing which violates the Geneva Conventions.

The Times further reviewed text messages from a group chat it has reviewed. “In a third episode, Chosen members boasted in a group chat about killing Russian prisoners of war during a mission in October, text messages show,” the publication writes. “A soldier who was briefly in command that day alluded to the killings using a slang word for shooting.” He said he would take responsibility.:

“If anything comes out about alleged POW blamming, I ordered it,” wrote the soldier, who uses the call sign Andok. He added an image of a Croatian war criminal who died in 2017 after drinking poison during a tribunal at The Hague.

“At the Hague ‘I regret nothing!’” he wrote. It was one of several text messages reviewed by The Times that make reference, directly or obliquely, to killing prisoners. Andok said in an interview that he had been joking.

The report says that a Greek soldier known as Zeus was at the center of multiple episodes that involved killing Russian prisoners or those in the act of surrendering.

“Today a good friend willingly executed a bound prisoner,” a journal entry by Grosse begins, recounting one of the incidents which Zeus was behind. “As the prisoner was sitting in a trench blendage with his jacket draped over his shoulders, Zeus came up behind him and shot him into the back of the head multiple times. Going to bed.”

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