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Russia launches probe into video showing alleged beheading of Ukrainian soldier

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The Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office said on Thursday it was opening a preliminary probe into footage purporting to show the beheading of a Ukrainian prisoner of war.

The emergence of the disturbing footage, which AFP was unable to independently verify, sparked fury in Ukraine.

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“In order to assess the reliability of these materials and make an appropriate decision, they were sent to the investigating authorities to organize a probe,” the office said in a statement.

This is a rather unusual step for Russia, which normally outright denies accusations of war crimes.

The video, which lasts one minute 40 seconds, shows a masked man in camouflage decapitating another man in uniform.

After the screams stop, other voices are heard encouraging the attacker in Russian.

After the man is decapitated, a voice is heard saying that the head should be sent “to the commander.”

The victim’s vest bearing the Ukrainian trident and a skull can also be seen in the footage.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that “the authenticity of this horrible footage needs to be verified.”

Wagner paramilitary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin on Thursday denied accusations from a Russian NGO and a Wagner deserter that the executioners were from his group.

“This is complete nonsense, it does not correspond to reality,” Prigozhin said.

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