The mock-parade of prisoners held by the pro-Russian terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in Donetsk on August 24, the day when Ukrainians celebrated their Independence Day, has shocked many of the world’s mass media as an unheard-of act of outrage upon human dignity.
The Wall Street Journal: Separatists marched Ukrainian prisoners of war at bayonet-point through their stronghold of Donetsk, as both sides girded for a continuing battle despite Western efforts at diplomacy». In rebel-held Donetsk, separatists marked Independence Day by parading dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war through the city. Video footage from the scene, including some aired on Russian state television, showed prisoners with hands bound and heads bowed being marched past jeering onlookers by men with bayonets. The crowd chanted “Fascists! Fascists!” according to the footage.
Parading POWs would run counter to the Geneva Convention, which prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,” of war prisoners. But a separatist official dismissed that accusation in a TV interview, saying he wasn’t interested in interpreting the convention while his and his mother’s house were under attack.
The New York Times: On a day when Ukrainians celebrated their independence from the Soviet Union with parades and speeches, pro-Russia separatists in the eastern part of the country staged a grim counter-spectacle: a parade that mocked the national army and celebrated the deaths and imprisonment of its soldiers.
Leading the procession was an attractive young blond woman carrying an assault rifle, followed by several dozen captured Ukrainian soldiers, filthy, bruised and unkempt, their heads shaved, wearing fetid camouflage uniforms and looking down at their feet.
Onlookers shouted that the men should be shot, and pelted the prisoners with empty beer bottles, eggs and tomatoes as they stumbled down Artyomovsk Street, Donetsk’s main thoroughfare. A loudspeaker played Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March,” a familiar Russian patriotic piece. Behind the prisoners were two tanker trucks spraying soapy water, demonstratively cleaning the pavement where the Ukrainian soldiers had passed.
People in the crowd shouted “fascists!” and “perverts!” and separatist fighters held back a man who tried to punch a prisoner.
The Geneva Conventions’ rules for treating prisoners of war prohibit parading them in public, but the treatment of the wounded, disheveled prisoners seemed to offend few of those watching, who in any case had turned out for the promise of seeing a ghoulish spectacle. “Shoot them!” one woman yelled.
Le Monde reports that nearly fifty men wearing shabby uniforms, some just wearing A-shirts, barefooted, marched through the city, past a jeering crowd chanting “fascists!” and demanding that they be hanged on trees. The paper also mentions the outrage this scene caused and the condemnation of this “spectacle” by humanitarian organizations which described it as humiliating and degrading.
Liberation calls it a sinister scene organized by separatist to mock the military parade that took place in Kyiv on that same day to celebrate the independence of Ukraine. According to the article, the prisoners were not beaten, but plastic bottles were thrown at them. The paper also described the humiliating washing of the pavement behind the prisoners. All these actions run counter to the Geneva Convention which protects POW’s rights, says the paper, and show how little separatists care about international public opinion.
Figaro: Some forty or fifty war prisoners captured during the last month’s fighting marched through the city while the onlookers chanted “fascists!” and “perverts!”. After a fifteen minute spectacle, they were taken to two buses parked near a monument to Vladimir Lenin. As a terrible symbol, water trucks followed the prisoners to wash the pavement, says the paper about the events in Donetsk on August 24. Prisoner marches were Saddam Hussein’s during the Iran war, says Figaro’s reporter in Donets, adding that Stalin, by whose name Donetsk was called in the past, also organized marches of German prisoners in Moscow.