A decorated veteran of GROM, Poland’s special forces, writes about the mutilation of POWs by Russia
Can Russia still be treated as a civilized state, or is it already a terrorist country that allows its soldiers to behave like war crimes?
After several years of absence, today’s article is my first for SOFREP for some time. When I commented on armed conflicts, I looked at them more from the point of view of what I experienced during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from a historical point of view. The current war, that of Ukraine, is taking place in close proximity to Poland and the Poles. I comment on it, witnessing a story in progress, a story as cruel as the one our grandparents told us when they remembered the Second World War.
Putin’s troops (I don’t want to blame all Russians) fighting in Ukraine are branding themselves as the worst side by inflicting callousing cruelty. They mindlessly kill civilians, rape women, do not spare the elderly and destroy hospitals, schools, community centers and churches, there is no holiness for them.
In recent days, a video has been posted on the Internet and on social networks showing the probable mutilation of a Ukrainian prisoner of war. The film shows a captured and overpowered Ukrainian soldier. He is lying on the ground, his mouth taped and his hands tied. Above him stands a man in a Russian military uniform, with the letter “Z” sewn on, symbolizing the invasion of Ukraine. First, he cuts the soldier’s uniform with a knife, then mutilates a man at the level of the perineum…, shouting humiliating insults at him in Russian. It is difficult for internet users to determine when and where this video was shot, but many of them recognize the author by a characteristic tasselled hat, the man previously appearing in a recording of the Azot chemical plant in Severdonetsk.
It is ridiculous that the torture video comes from Russian media, where Ossian propagandists delightfully show how a group of sadists mutilated a Ukrainian prisoner. What should the world think of Russian soldiers now? From the country of Putin, where his soldiers love torture and assassination?
“The fog of war will not help the executioners escape punishment. We will identify and catch everyone,” Mykhailo Podolak, adviser to the Ukrainian president, wrote on Twitter.
In information published on the RIA Novosti Telegram channel, the Russian news agency identified the man as a member of the Chechen battalion known as “Akhmat”.
What can the world do now? – not much… Ukrainian civil rights spokesperson Lyudmyla Denysova has asked the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate reports of torture of prisoners of war at the hands of Russians . For example, most of the Ukrainian soldiers who were taken prisoner in the vicinity of Mariupol were transferred to the Donetsk detention center and penal colony No. 120, located in temporarily occupied territory. During transport, the Ukrainian soldiers had their eyes covered, their hands tied, and bags were put over their heads. After being taken to their destination, they were tortured, threatened with death, beaten and humiliated. The officers of the armed forces of Ukraine and the soldiers of the special forces of Azov are even worse, they are tortured with extreme cruelty. After their release, Ukrainian POWs report being beaten all over their bodies, having gun barrels rammed into wounds to reopen them, being pinched with pliers and strangled. In addition, some were shocked, beaten with batons and repeatedly kicked on the genitals.
Being in the military and now a veteran, reading and reading reports just as cruel as those given by the Nazis during WWII, I ask; “How is this possible in the 21st century? Has our civilization learned nothing from the suffering of previous wars?
Russia seems to have remained at the beginning of the 20th century, unwilling to adopt current social norms.
Naval served in GROM, the Polish special forces unit for fourteen years as an operator in a combat unit. Most of his time in the unit he spent overseas assignments. He was decorated with the highest combat medals awarded in Poland for personal bravery, including the Knight’s Cross of the Military Cross, awarded for outstanding military merit, and the Commander’s Cross of the Military Cross, awarded for bravery the more exceptional at the risk of his life. He also holds the Grom Gold Badge, which is most honored by GROM staff. He is the author of two books about his wartime experiences, “