Ukraine’s security services have concluded that the prisoner of war was killed by Russian soldiers in a clip that was quickly circulated Ukraine and much of the world is Oleksandr Igorevich Matsievskyi, ending the dispute over his identity.
In the graphic 12-second clip that first circulated on Telegram on Monday, a detained combatant is seen standing in a shallow ditch smoking a cigarette. The soldier, in uniform with a Ukrainian flag on his arm, says “Glory to Ukraine” and is then apparently shot with automatic weapons by a group of Russian soldiers.
The video, allegedly posted to Telegram by Russian soldiers, has led to a war crimes investigation and, within Ukraine, a search for the identity of a man hailed as a national hero and symbol of resistance.
The Ukrainian military on Tuesday initially named the soldier as Tymofiy Shadura of the 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade but warned that a final confirmation could not be made until the body was recovered from currently Russian-held territory.
According to the 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade, he disappeared on February 3 near Bakhmut, where fierce trench warfare had been going on for seven months, with thousands killed.
Some Ukrainian media and bloggers instead claimed that the murdered man was Oleksandr Igorevich Matsievskyi, 42, who was also deployed to Bakhmut in November.
“We have received the conclusion of a forensic photo examination, which confirmed that the soldier in the video is Oleksandr Matsievskyi,” the Security Service of Ukraine wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “This is the result of a series of investigative actions, which included communication with relatives and relatives of the deceased, as well as processing photos and video materials. This man is a real hero who, even in the face of death, showed the whole world what Ukrainian character and indomitability is .”
Later on Sunday, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, wrote on Twitter that he had awarded Matsievskyi the title “Hero of Ukraine”.
“A soldier and a man who will be remembered forever. For his bravery, for his self-confidence – in Ukraine – and for his “Glory to Ukraine!”, Zelenskiy said.