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Ukraine updates: Russia shot surrendering troops, says Kyiv

Published December 3, 2023last updated December 3, 2023

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing a war crime by killing surrendering soldiers. Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said Germany's defense aid is a "lifesaver" for thousands of Ukrainians. Follow DW for the latest.

A Ukrainian soldier is pictured from behind as they walk on a road on the front line of fighting with Russian troops in eastern Ukraine
Ukraine said a new video showing two surrendering soldiers being shot by Russian troops was genuineImage: Marek M. Berezowski/Anadolu/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukraine's military said on Sunday that new drone footage posted to social media shows Russian troops shooting surrendering Ukrainian soldiers.

Kyiv has launched an investigation, and said the video is genuine. The video's authenticity has not been independently verified.

Ukraine's human rights ombudsman has condemned the events as a "war crime."

Meanwhile, intensive fighting is taking place in eastern Ukraine in areas around Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

Here's a look at the latest headlines on Russia's war in Ukraine on Sunday, December 3:

Skip next section Poland and Ukraine prepare to open crossing amid trucker blockade
December 3, 2023

Poland and Ukraine prepare to open crossing amid trucker blockade

Ukraine and Poland said they would open a border crossing for some trucks on Monday in an effort to ease a protest blockade by Polish truckers.

"The opening of Ugryniv is the first of a list of measures being implemented to unblock the border, reduce queues and increase the capacity of the Ukrainian-Polish border," Ukraine's border service said on Sunday.

The Dolhobyczow-Ugryniv border crossing currently permits cars and buses through — but it will now open to empty trucks traveling from Ukraine to Poland.

The map below shows some of the major truck crossings that have been impacted by the blockade.

Polish truckers are currently blocking several major crossings with Ukraine in protest over what they say is unfair competition with cheaper Ukrainian rivals.

A trucker union in Slovakia joined in the protest on Friday, blocking a main crossing on the Slovakian-Ukrainian border.

Both Polish and Slovakian truckers are calling on the European Union to reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian truckers.

Ukraine said the fallout from the Polish trucker blockade was "catastrophic" as many Ukrainian drivers are stuck at the border in a "dire" situation.

Massive lines have built up on both sides of the border, with many truckers stuck in their vehicles with little food and in cold temperatures.

Skip next section Russian attacks kill 2 in southern Ukraine
December 3, 2023

Russian attacks kill 2 in southern Ukraine

Russian shelling in the Kherson region on Sunday killed two people and injured another four, Ukrainian officials said.

The shelling took place in the southern Kherson region. Although the region was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November last year, it still faces heavy shelling from Russian troops.

A woman in Kherson city was killed in a street by the shelling on Sunday, while a 78-year-old man was killed in the village of Sadove on the Dnieper River — an area that marks the current de-facto front line of fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russia launched several drone attacks overnight as well as a missile attack. 

Skip next section Kyiv probes allegations Russian troops killed surrendering soldiers
Published December 3, 2023last updated December 3, 2023

Kyiv probes allegations Russian troops killed surrendering soldiers

The General Prosecutor's office in Ukraine launched a criminal investigation on Sunday into allegations that Russian forces shot and killed Ukrainian soldiers as they were surrendering.

The move came after Ukraine's military press office said that footage of the incident is genuine. If confirmed, the incident could constitute a war crime.

A video posted on Telegram shows two men coming out of a shelter and lying on the ground. This is followed by what appears to be gunfire.

The undated drone footage, purportedly filmed near the heavily contested eastern town of Avdiivka, was posted on Telegram.

The video's authenticity has not been independently verified.

"The footage published in the media depicts the killing of two Ukrainian prisoners of war," Ukraine’s military command said on Telegram.

Local media quoted a military spokesperson as saying "all evidence will be handed over to the responsible international institutions dealing with war crimes."

Ukraine's human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets also denounced the events as a "war crime," saying the men in the video are clearly doing everything possible to show they pose no threat to the Russian soldiers.

'Russia is corrupt from top to bottom'

Skip next section Intense battles around Bakhmut and Avdiivka, says Ukraine
December 3, 2023

Intense battles around Bakhmut and Avdiivka, says Ukraine

The Ukrainian military says much of the fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops is taking place in the country's east.

According to the Ukrainian General Staff's front line report on Saturday evening, Moscow's forces launched 15 attacks around Bakhmut and 20 attacks near the town of Avdiivka in the previous 24 hours.

Russia has been trying to seize Avdiivka and its vast coking plant since mid-October.

Ukraine's military added that its soldiers were continuing to hold their new positions on the south side of the Dnipro River in the contested southern region of Kherson.

Ukraine's military took up positions there, an area largely controlled by Russia, two weeks ago.

Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive in June, seeking to recapture occupied towns in the east and south, but progress has been much slower than Kyiv had hoped.

Can Ukraine still defeat Russia?

Skip next section Ukraine on the agenda as Brazil's Lula visits Germany
December 3, 2023

Ukraine on the agenda as Brazil's Lula visits Germany

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula arrives in Berlin on Sunday for the first Brazilian-German government consultations in eight years.

The talks are expected to focus on trade, the Israel-Hamas war, and Russia's war in Ukraine, among other things.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was the first foreign leader to visit Lula in Brazil following his inauguration earlier this year.

That trip in January was overshadowed by stark differences in the leaders' perspectives on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Brazilian president has angered Kyiv and its Western backers by saying that Ukraine is partially to blame for the war.

He has also pushed for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict.

Skip next section Zelenskyy thanks Berlin for air defense support
December 3, 2023

Zelenskyy thanks Berlin for air defense support

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has underlined the importance of German support in bolstering Ukraine's air defense in the war with Russia.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said Berlin's arms deliveries were proving a "lifesaver" for thousands of Ukrainians.

"I am especially grateful for the precise implementation of agreements regarding air defense for Ukraine — strengthening our air shield," he said.

Zelenskyy added that urgently needed 155 millimeter shells would be delivered as part of a new German aid package.

According to the German government, Germany provided Kyiv with 3,840 such projectiles in its most recent delivery. It also delivered five drone detection systems, five sniper rifles, several semi-trailers, trucks, minibuses, off-road vehicles and other military supplies.

Besides supporting Kyiv with arms deliveries, Germany is also training Ukrainian soldiers. On Saturday, Germany's DPA news agency reported that the German military had completed training a second batch of Ukrainian soldiers on the Patriot air defense system.

nm/wd (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)