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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Russian soldier charged with a war crime in Ukraine

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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The city of Izium, in northeast Ukraine, is still reeling after its occupation by Russian forces. This week, police in the region charged a Russian soldier with war crimes in absentia.

The accused is Klim Kerzhaev, a 25-year-old commander in the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Tank Army. The Kharkiv Police said the Russian commander used the 30mm cannon onboard his BMP infantry fighting vehicle to open fire on a civilian couple. Kerzhaev is accused of the attempted murder of a civilian, which is a war crime under Ukraine’s criminal code of conduct.

The entire incident involving Kerzhaev and the civilian couple was captured on video by a Ukrainian drone pilot last June. In the video, the Ukrainian couple’s vehicle can be seen as it is hit with a round from the BMP. The couple try to flee on foot, but the husband is struck by shrapnel and badly wounded.

The couple uses their vehicle for cover, and that’s when the drone’s pilot attached a sign that read “Follow me” to the drone and led the woman to Ukrainian troops stationed nearby.

Russian troops were then observed in the video moving in on the couple’s vehicle. The soldiers apparently thought the man was dead and threw his body in a ditch. However, both the man and woman survived the ordeal. The couple’s story is now featured in a Ukrainian documentary called “Follow Me.”

The incident is just one of hundreds of ongoing investigations into possible war crimes in Izium. Russia occupied the city for six months before it was liberated last September. In addition to the charges against Kerzhaev, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants last week for Russian President Vladimir Putin and one of his top allies in the government, Maria Lvova-Belova.

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THE CITY OF IZIUM, IN NORTHEAST UKRAINE, IS STILL REELING AFTER ITS OCCUPATION BY RUSSIAN FORCES. ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS WERE DESTROYED. THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS WERE KILLED, MANY OF THEIR BODIES BURIED IN MASS GRAVES.

THIS WEEK, LOCAL POLICE IN THE AREA CHARGED A RUSSIAN SOLDIER WITH WAR CRIMES IN ABSENTIA. THE ACCUSED IS A 25-YEAR-OLD COMMANDER IN THE 2ND MOTORIZED RIFLE DIVISION OF THE 1ST TANK ARMY.

THE KHARKIV POLICE SAID THE RUSSIAN COMMANDER USED THE 30MM CANNON ONBOARD HIS BMP INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLE TO OPEN FIRE ON A CIVILIAN COUPLE.

A UKRAINIAN DRONE CAPTURED THE INCIDENT ON VIDEO LAST JUNE. THE UKRAINIAN COUPLE’S VEHICLE CAN BE SEEN AS IT’S HIT WITH A ROUND FROM THE BMP. THE COUPLE TRY TO FLEE ON FOOT, BUT THE HUSBAND IS STRUCK BY SHRAPNEL AND BADLY WOUNDED.

THE COUPLE USES THEIR VEHICLE FOR COVER, AND THAT’S WHEN THE DRONE’S PILOT ATTACHED A SIGN THAT READ FOLLOW ME TO THE DRONE, AND LED THE WOMAN TO UKRAINIAN TROOPS STATIONED NEARBY.

RUSSIAN TROOPS WERE THEN OBSERVED MOVING IN ON THE COUPLE’S VEHICLE. THE TROOPS THOUGHT THE MAN WAS DEAD AND THREW HIS BODY IN A DITCH, BUT HE SURVIVED. THE COUPLE’S STORY IS NOW FEATURED IN A UKRAINIAN DOCUMENTARY CALLED FOLLOW ME.

THE INCIDENT IS JUST ONE OF HUNDREDS OF ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS INTO POSSIBLE WAR CRIMES IN IZIUM. RUSSIA OCCUPIED THE CITY FOR SIX MONTHS BEFORE IT WAS LIBERATED LAST SEPTEMBER.

FOR MORE ON THE WAR IN UKRAINE AND THE WAR CRIMES RUSSIA IS ACCUSED OF COMMITTING, BE SURE TO LOG ONTO STRAIGHTARROWNEWS.COM