A former member of Kiev’s International Legion said in an interview that he regrets not leaving sooner
An ex-German soldier who traveled to fight for Ukraine against Russia described summary executions of prisoners by Ukrainian soldiers in a book he wrote about his experience. He called the episode “dirty” in an interview with German media outlet T-Online.
“You know that this happens in every army and in every war. It does not change the fact that Ukraine has the right to fight this war,” Jonas Kratzenberg said of the war crime he alleged when asked about his experience by T-Online.
Kratzenberg, who served in Afghanistan, was discharged from the German military in February 2022 and went to Ukraine the following month, according to a biography published online. He claimed to be a volunteer who wanted to defend the country and also to make use of his skills as a soldier. He joined the so-called International Legion, a force created by Kiev to accommodate foreign fighters.
Kratzenberg’s stint lasted until December when he was seriously injured in a Russian drone strike. The book, which he co-authored with a professional writer, tells about his time in Ukraine. It was published in late April.
The victims of the summary execution were three Russian soldiers and a civilian, according to his account. Kratzenberg told T-Online that he knew of two such cases, one of which was later investigated, but he didn’t know if anyone was held accountable.
The German citizen claimed that volunteer members of the Legion were often underpaid or not paid at all and that he saw footage of a Ukrainian commander describing such recruits as cannon fodder. He said in hindsight that he should have left sooner than he did.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said in a report from March that it possessed evidence of extrajudicial killings of Russian POWs and other forms of mistreatment by Ukrainian troops. It said it was “not aware of any prosecutions of the perpetrators” by the Ukrainian authorities.
READ MORE: The death of a US mercenary exposes the bleak reality of service with Ukraine’s ‘International Legion’
Russia has accused Kiev’s foreign backers of ignoring instance of wrongdoing by the Ukrainian side.
May 04, 2023 at 04:40PM