The authenticity of the footage is yet to be confirmed, although it seems chillingly real on first viewing.
The brutal murder was reportedly carried out by members of the Azov Battalion, which was converted into a regiment last year, making it a de facto part of the Ukrainian Army. The paramilitary group forms “the backbone of the forces fighting against the local self-defense militia advocating independence from Ukraine.”
Ukrainian nationalist volunteers have repeatedly been accused of carrying out “ISIS-style war crimes” during the conflict, including beheadings.
The clip shows a hooded man kneeling in a field as five Ukrainian militants stand around him while one reads a statement. The militants then grab the victim, who is gagged, and place him down on a wooden cross.
The man’s arms are taped to the cross and his hands are then nailed to the structure as he groans and writhes in agony.
The victim is then lifted up on the cross, which is planted in the ground before the militants light a fire at the bottom. The video cuts off at the point that the fire reaches the man’s feet and he begins to scream.
The execution, which was reportedly carried out near the village of Shirokino, came with a message from Azov fighters to pro-Russian rebels; “All the separatists, traitors of Ukraine and militia fighters will be treated the same”.
Pro-separatist hackers Cyberberkut, to whom the video was sent, responded by vowing that no Ukrainian Army or militia fighters would be taken alive in future.
Azov militants identify as neo-nazis and routinely adorn their helmets and uniforms with Nazi SS logos and swastikas, as seen in the image below taken from German television.
“Azov fighters do more than wave a Swastika-like flag,” writes Robert Parry, “they favor the Wolfsangel flag of Hitler’s SS divisions, much as some of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis still honor Hitler’s Ukrainian SS auxiliary, the Galician SS. A Ukrainian hero hailed during the Maidan protests was Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera whose paramilitary forces helped exterminate Jews and Poles.”
Following last year’s coup d’état, Kiev also handed key positions within the newly formed government to members of the neo-nazi Svoboda Party, despite the fact that one if its top members, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, founded a think tank named the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Centre as an homage to the Nazi propaganda minister.
Despite their implication in war crimes and fascist ideology, on Monday, U.S. troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived at the Yavoriv training ground in Lviv to work with Ukrainian national guard battalions.
As the Telegraph reported last year, Kiev has thrown openly fascist battalions like Azov onto the front line in their battle against pro-Russian separatist rebels.
Despite their clear neo-nazi sympathies, Senator John McCain and others have repeatedly called on the Obama administration to arm pro-Kiev militants. Last month Congress passed a resolution urging Obama to send “lethal defensive weapon systems” to Ukraine.
Arming and funding bloodthirsty militants who carry out ISIS-style executions would be a repeat of Washington’s disastrous policy of doing the very same thing in Libya and Syria, a strategy that directly led to the growth of ISIS throughout the region. However, a Pew poll conducted in February found that a majority of Americans support doing precisely that.
The one hour video below exhaustively documents how neo-nazi militants were involved in both the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government as well as fighting on the front lines alongside post-coup Kiev forces.