Russian Soldiers Updates: When Russian forces shot Leonid Pliats and his employer in the back, the killing was filmed on CCTV cameras in graphic detail. Ukrainian prosecutors are now looking at the film as a possible war crime. It was the height of the war in Kyiv, and the main highways entering the capital, including the bicycle shop where Leonid worked as a security guard, were a battleground.
But this wasn’t a firefight: the video clearly shows Russian soldiers murdering two defenceless Ukrainians and then robbing the shop. We pieced together the entire sequence of events by comparing what was captured on various CCTV cameras around the site with evidence from people Leonid called that day, as well as the testimony of Ukrainian volunteer fighters who attempted to rescue him.
THE RUSSIANS ARRIVE IN A STOLEN VEHICLE WITH THE RUSSIAN V SYMBOL AND THE WORDS TANK SPETSNAZ WRITTEN IN BLACK PAINT.
They are dressed in Russian military uniforms and approach with their rifles raised and triggers pressed. Leonid approaches the soldiers with his hands raised, indicating that he is unarmed and poses no threat. Through the fence, the Russians initially communicate with him and his supervisor.
The video has no sound, but the males appear relaxed and even smoke. The Ukrainians then turned away, and the soldiers began to go. They abruptly turn around, squat, and shoot the two men in the back many times. One is murdered instantly, but Leonid manages to get to his feet. He even ties his belt over his thigh to slow the flow of blood before staggering to his cabin and calling for aid.
As he sat bleeding heavily, Vasyl Podlevskyi spoke to his pal twice that day. Leonid stated the troops claimed they didn’t harm people before shooting him. “Can you at least wrap yourself up, I asked? Vasya, he said, “I barely crawled here.” Everything is excruciatingly painful. I’m in a terrible mood, “Vasyl recalls the phone call.
“SO I TOLD HIM TO STAY STRONG AND DIALLED THE TERRITORIAL DEFENCE.”
Before the war, the men he called used to sell air conditioning. Sasha and Kostya, two volunteer fighters, now show me video of Russian tanks moving past their positions on their mobile phones. Their mission was to provide Ukraine’s military positions up the road with real-time information on Russian movements.
They were charged with crossing the deadly E40 expressway to save Leonid Pliats after he was injured. The burned-out remains of Russian tanks litter the road even today, a reminder of the fighting’s severity. Russian troops were still on the scene while the security guard lay bleeding.
On the surveillance cameras, they can be seen shooting their way into rooms, stealing bicycles and even a scooter, and lounging in the director’s office, drinking his scotch and rummaging through his cabinets. His companions don’t realise they’re being recorded for a long time and shatter one of the surveillance cameras.
We showed the tape to the chief of police for Kyiv area, who told us that after Russian forces were forced back, the bodies of 37 civilians, all of whom were shot, were discovered along the road to Ukraine’s capital. The prosecutor’s office confirmed that the killing of Leonid and his colleague is being investigated as a probable war crime, one of over 10,000 incidents they have registered.