Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists On Social Media Share Photos And Videos Of POWs In Russia-Ukraine War, Of Russian Soldiers' Capture And Killing Of Ukrainian Noncombatants, Including Children, And Of Ukrainian Soldiers' Torture And Abuse Of Russian POWs

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May 5, 2022

In violation of the strict Geneva Convention rules on interstate warfare protecting prisoners of war as well as civilians, medics, and aid workers, and the wounded and sick, during wartime, news outlets are reporting that Russian soldiers have been arresting and detaining noncombatants including journalists, medics, and children. Russia has also been accused of torture, sexual assault, and the mass killing of Ukrainian civilians.[1] At the same time, Ukrainian forces executed Russian prisoners following fighting in the Kyiv region.[2]

Since Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine, neo-Nazis and white supremacists around the world, who have been closely monitoring the conflict, are posting photos and videos of prisoners of war and noncombatants, including photos showing POWs being tortured and otherwise abused. These extremists on both sides are sharing photos of dead bodies, some of them mutilated, of soldiers and civilians. This phenomenon was examined by a recent MEMRI DTTM report, part of the DTTM series on the Russia-Ukraine war.[3]

Videos that are being circulated on Telegram show Ukrainian soldiers shooting and assaulting Russian POWs, as well as humiliating them – also a violation of the Geneva Convention, which prohibit POWs from being used as a "public curiosity" – for example, by forcing them to insult Putin. Other videos on Telegram show pro-Russia Chechen forces similarly have humiliated Ukrainian POWs, making them shout "Akhmat Sila" – or "Akhmat Power" – a reference to the father of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

A Russian white supremacist news channel on Telegram shared videos of interviews with captured Ukrainian soldiers; the channel claimed that they are well treated and are even given the opportunity to call their families back home. In some of these interviews posted by pro-Russia white supremacist channels the captured Ukrainian soldiers acknowledge having taken shelter in civilian areas and abusing local civilians – claims that Russian officials have repeatedly promoted since the beginning of the war. It is unclear whether the confessions are coerced.

Pro-Russia white supremacists are posting photos and videos of captured Ukrainian soldiers, highlighting in particular those with tattoos of Nazi symbols. This is in support of the narrative articulated by Russian President Vladmir Putin early in the war, i.e. that Russia is invading to "denazify" Ukraine. Many of the photos and videos show the POWs being beaten and abused.[4]

One reason for neo-Nazi and white supremacist support for Ukraine over Russia is a perception that Ukraine is white while Russia is a multiethnic nation whose population comprises also nonwhite groups. Photos of these "nonwhite" soldiers are posted by pro-Ukraine neo-Nazis to support the narrative of a "white" Ukraine defending itself against a "nonwhite" Russia. Often identifying the Russian soldiers as “Bolsheviks," "pigs," or "orcs," some point out those who are of Asian appearance, or who look like they are from the Caucasus.

The following excerpts are an overview of content shared by neo-Nazi and white supremacist on Telegram showing Russian and Ukrainian POWs and noncombatants detained by both sides.

YOU MUST BE SUBSCRIBED TO THE MEMRI DOMESTIC TERRORISM THREAT MONITOR (DTTM) TO READ THE FULL REPORT. GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA CAN REQUEST A COPY BY WRITING TO [email protected] WITH THE REPORT TITLE IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

Table of Contents

  • Pro-Ukraine Neo-Nazis Share Photos Of Captured Russians In Ukraine

    • Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Share Photos Of Captured Russian Soldiers, Mock The "Nonwhites"

  • Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Share Videos Of Captured Ukrainian Soldiers

    • Pro-Russia White Supremacists And Neo-Nazis Share Photos Of Captured Noncombatants

    • Pro-Russia Telegram Channels Share Photos Of Captured Neo-Nazi Ukrainian Soldiers

    • Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Share Videos of Captured Ukrainian Soldiers

Pro-Ukraine Neo-Nazis Share Photos Of Captured Russians In Ukraine

A Telegram channel posted a video of Ukrainian soldiers shooting multiple POWs in the legs after exiting a van. The same video was shared by a U.S based extremist media outlet.

A neo-Nazi account posted a video featuring soldiers assaulting and stepping on the face of a Russian soldier.

A neo-Nazi Telegram channel posted a video of blindfolded POWs lying on the floor and being forced to sing the National Anthem of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Share Photos Of Captured Russian Soldiers, Mock The "Nonwhites"

Pro-Ukraine neo-Nazis have posted photos and videos of captured Russian soldiers. In some cases, "nonwhite" Russians are mocked and used to support the narrative that the Russia-Ukraine war is a "race war" between a "white" Ukraine and a multiethnic Russia.

A social media account affiliated with a Russian neo-Nazi posted a photo of two soldiers, one white and the other a Russian who is Asian-looking; the latter appears to have his hands bound behind his back. The text with the image mocks the Russian soldier and says that neo-Nazis should support Ukraine.

A neo-Nazi account posted multiple photos featuring Russian POWs and asked rhetorically if they were European.

Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Share Videos Of Captured Ukrainian Soldiers

Pro-Russia channels have also shared photos and videos of Ukrainians that have been captured by Russian forces. These pro-Russian channels often comment on Ukrainian soldiers that have neo-Nazi tattoos and include commentary alleging that Ukrainian soldiers are being well treated, contrasting this with the alleged mistreatment of Russian soldiers captured by Ukraine.

Pro-Russia White Supremacists And Neo-Nazis Share Photos Of Captured Noncombatants

Pro-Russia channels have posted several photos and videos of non-combatants that they have captured claiming that these individuals are aiding Ukrainian armed forces or belong to the Ukrainian intelligence services.

A white supremacist account posted a video of a captured journalist and referred to him as an “accomplice of the Nazis.”

A pro-Russian account posted a video of soldiers detaining two individuals. The post claimed that the men were suspected of aiding the security services of Ukraine.

Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Share Videos of Captured Ukrainian Soldiers

According to pro-Ukraine neo-Nazi accounts Russian soldiers are raping, torturing, and killing Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Some social media posts, namely those shared by pro-Russia white supremacist accounts claim Russian soldiers have been treating Ukrainian POWs justly.

A neo-Nazi account posted a photo it said was of a Ukrainian "nationalist" who had been tortured and branded with a swastika. The post stated that that the photo was from Mariupol.

A pro-Russia account shared a photo of a bleeding POW sitting with his hands behind his back, and included a comment arguing that the Russians are treating prisoners of war well and are providing them with medical care.

A pro-Russia white supremacist Telegram channel posted a video of a captured Ukrainian soldier. According to the post, the Ukrainian soldier discusses how his battalion forced civilians to leave their homes, engaged in looting and hid their artillery and equipment in areas occupied by civilians.

 

[1] Reuters.com/world/europe/mayor-ukraines-bucha-says-403-bodies-found-so-far-2022-04-12, April 12, 2022; Amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/04/ukraine-russian-forces-extrajudicially-executing-civilians-in-apparent-war-crimes-new-testimony, April 7, 2022.

[2] Cnn.com/2022/04/07/europe/ukraine-execution-russian-prisoner-intl/index.html, April 8, 2022.

[3] MEMRI will soon be releasing a report on images and videos of dead Russian and Ukrainian soldiers posted online by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

[4] Ohchr.org/sites/default/files/2022-03/HRMMU_Update_2022-03-26_EN.pdf, March 26, 2022.

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