Russian soldiers seen shooting dead unarmed civilians

When Leonid Pliats and his boss were shot in the back by Russian soldiers, the killing was captured on CCTV cameras in clear and terrible detail.

The footage, which was obtained by the BBC, was being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutors as a suspected war crime.

It was the height of the fighting around Kyiv and the main roads into the capital were a battlefield, including around the bicycle shop where Leonid worked as a security guard.

But this was no firefight: the video clearly showed heavily armed Russian soldiers shooting the two unarmed Ukrainians and then looting the business.

We have pieced together the full sequence of events, matching what was recorded on multiple CCTV cameras around the site with the testimony of people Leonid phoned that day, as well as the Ukrainian volunteer fighters who tried to rescue him.

The Russians arrived in a stolen van daubed with the V sign used by Russian forces and the words Tank Spetsnaz in black paint. They wore Russian military uniform and approached with their guns up, fingers on the triggers.

Leonid walked towards the soldiers with his hands up to show he was unarmed and no threat.

The Russians initially talked to him and his boss through the fence. There was no audio on the footage, but the men were calm, they even smoked. Then the Ukrainians turned away and the soldiers started to leave.

Suddenly they turned back, crouchedand shot the two men multiple times in their backs.

One was killed outright, but somehow Leonid managed to stagger to his feet. He even tied his belt around his thigh to slow the blood, then stumbled to his cabin where he began to call for help.

Vasyl Podlevskyi spoke to his friend twice that day, as he sat bleeding heavily.

Leonid told him the soldiers claimed they don’t kill civilians, then they shot him.

“I said can you at least bandage yourself up? And he told me, Vasya, I barely crawled here. Everything hurts so much. I feel really bad,” Vasyl remembered the call.

“So I told him to hang in there and started phoning the territorial defence.”

The men he called used to sell air conditioning before the war.  -BBC

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