A Russia-backed fighter has confessed that he killed 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war. In a telephonic conversation with the Kyiv Post, Arseniy Pavlov said, “I don’t give a f**** about what I am accused of, believe it or not. I shot 15 prisoners dead. I don’t give a f****. No comment. I kill if I want to. I don’t if I don’t.”
Motorola heads the Sparta Battalion
If the authenticity of the recording is confirmed, it could be considered evidence of war crimes. Pavlov, better known as Motorola, is the head of Russia-backed Sparta Battalion. Motorola refused to comment on an eyewitness’ testimony that he had brutally murdered Ihor Branovytsky, a Ukrainian prisoner of war, on January 21.
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The Ukrainian Interior Ministry is already investigating the claim as part of the crimes against humanity. Motorola is leading the Russia-backed militant group in the war in Donbass. A citizen of Russia, Motorola was born in Ukhta in Komi Republic. His Sparta Battalion helped Moscow-backed militants capture the Donetsk airport in January.
The Kharkiv Human Rights Group chief Yevhen Zakharov said that if the presumed crime was committed, it was an aggravated premeditated murder and a violation of the human rights. Extrajudicial executions are defined as war crimes. The Branovytsky murder case has been opened under the crime against humanity article.
Pro-Russia militants beat Ukrainians continuously for seven hours
Motorola and his Sparta Battalion have also been charged with the torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war, which is prohibited under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Yury Sova, an eyewitness to the heinous crime, said Motorola’s men beat him and other prisoners continuously for six to seven hours.
Yevhen Zakharov said almost all of Ukrainian prisoners of war have been tortured by pro-Russia separatists. But Ukraine’s government officials have failed to document such cases. On April 5, Donetsk Oblast’s police department posted personal data of as many as 40 Sparta Battalion fighters on Facebook.