A Ukrainian soldier is seen atop an armoured vehicle at the entrance to Debaltseve amid clashes earlier this month.© MANU BRABO/AFP/Getty Images
Debaltseve’s possible capture by pro-Russian separatists must not result in widespread detainee abuse, Amnesty International urged amid reports that the Ukrainian military had partly lost control of the key railway hub town in eastern Ukraine.
Video has emerged this afternoon apparently showing dozens of Ukrainian soldiers surrendering to armed groups as they closed in on Debaltseve. According to media reports, between 4,000 and 8,000 Ukrainian troops may be encircled in the town.
“There is a history of separatist armed groups torturing or otherwise ill-treating captured pro-Kyiv soldiers. Some reports are as recent as 9 February near Debaltseve. Such acts would be war crimes,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.
“We urge all sides in the conflict to treat any detainees humanely according to the Geneva Conventions.”