TRUE OR FAKE. Find our investigation on a video showing possible abuses in Ukraine

 TRUE OR FAKE.  Find our investigation on a video showing possible abuses in Ukraine

Thanks to the facade of the building that can be seen behind the bodies, we managed to geolocate the building in front of which this video was shot. These are the disused premises of a former coal company, located in Pervomaysk. Only a few kilometers from the front line with the Ukrainian forces at the time of the broadcast of the video, this mining town of Donbass is in separatist territory, in the self-proclaimed Republic of Luhansk.

But how to go back to the author of this video? Thanks to the help of Ukrainian Internet users, we found a soldier who filmed himself in front of another facade of the coal company, in a post published on his TikTok account only three days after the video of abuse. His voice is similar to that which can be heard mocking corpses. He belongs to the 6th Cossack Regiment of the Republic of Luhansk. A separatist body which, according to several local press clippings, controls Pervomaisk well.

This man, whose military identity card we found, has the nom de guerre Miron (we have his exact name, but have chosen not to mention it). Aged 52, he comes from the town of Alchevsk, near Pervomaysk. Mobilized on the Donbass front since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, he regularly films his daily life as a soldier on TikTok or Instagram. We learn thanks to him that the coal factory seems to serve as a base for his regiment, and that he then leads offensives against Popasna, the main city controlled by the Ukrainians near Pervomaisk, since taken by the Russian forces.

Between operations in an armored vehicle, family leave and schoolboy jokes with his comrades, he recounts an almost ordinary life. This illusion of normality is shattered when Miron is in contact with captive Ukrainians: in a video published on April 3, we hear him threatening to beat and rape sometimes wounded prisoners of war. “We’re going to run over you! Which one of you is going to suck?”he yells, as another separatist soldier hits a Ukrainian in the head.

Miron was therefore on the scene around the date of the video’s publication, and he is in regular contact with prisoners of war.

But how to prove factually that he shot this video? To achieve this, we called on experts in voice analysis. Whispeak, and an independent forensic expert using Phonexia’s Voice Inspector software, normally used in forensic investigations, have agreed to compare Miron’s voice to that which can be heard mocking corpses. Without consulting each other and by adopting two different methods, they came to the same conclusion: Miron’s vocal characteristics are extremely close to those of the author of the video. We can therefore say with a high level of certainty that he is indeed the man who hides behind these images.

According to Karine Ardault, a lawyer specializing in war crimes, the elements brought to light by our research can serve as the basis for a judicial investigation. “This is an interesting video, which presents an element making it possible to highlight criminal responsibilities, and to establish that individuals could have committed war crimes vis-à-vis the people we see dead”she explains.

But as it stands, this video is not enough, and must be put into context. You have to understand what happened before and after.

Karine Ardault, legal specialist in war crimes

This task will fall to the International Criminal Court or to a specialized Ukrainian court. However, our investigation has enabled us to find the author of this video. A man who may one day have to explain his actions.