Alleged War Crimes Committed By An American-Led Volunteer Force

( – The Russo-Ukraine war has been ongoing for more than two years now. The media has covered many of the major events that take place, such as attacks on infrastructure and attempted assassinations. However, there’s a lot more that goes on out of the public eye, many of which remain under wraps. A recent exposé by The New York Times is shining light on the alleged prevalence of violence that’s not typically covered in the media.

Russians Surrendering… And Dying?

In a report published on July 6, journalist Thomas Gibbons-Neff details how one German medic who was working as part of an international unit, Chosen Company, led by an American named Ryan O’Leary, saw unexplainable horrors in the field. Caspar Grosse reported seeing an unarmed Russian soldier crawling through a trench, asking the unit for help, only to be shot and killed by two soldiers. One shot him in the torso; another shot him in the head.

Grosse took the matter to his commander, but nothing happened. He said in an interview with the Times, the brutal killings continued, which prompted him to speak out, which is normally unheard of in times of war, but Grosse couldn’t live with what was happening. He shared evidence with the publication, including group text messages bragging about killing soldiers, and video footage that shows Chosen Company lobbing a grenade at a surrendering Russian soldier, unarmed with his hands up.

That same footage had been edited by the Ukrainian military—the surrender was removed—and posted to display its prowess. Grosse has many more incidents detailed in his journal, where he kept an account of the tales he was told and his daily encounters.

At the center of all these incidents is one figure: a Greek soldier known by his call sign, Zeus.

War Crimes

If the allegations are true, the Chosen Company will be considered in violation of the Geneva Convention, which explicitly states that soldiers who make it clear they are surrendering cannot be attacked. Instead, they must be taken into custody—safely. Ukraine has pointed to Moscow doing the same thing, calling out the country for its lawlessness.

O’Leary has denied that the unit has participated in ruthless killings, only attacking those who had the capability of fighting back. Further, he denies that the killing Grosse described in a trench never happened and says the German medic wasn’t even on that particular mission. He justified the grenade killing by saying there was another soldier nearby that could’ve been problematic.

The Ukrainian military was informed of the event and stopped short of promising to investigate the matter, which is a normal course of action when someone is accused of committing war crimes. Instead, it said that “the issue raised will be thoroughly examined and verified.”

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