Russian rifleman Dmitrii Kurashov, captured by Ukraine's forces in late January 2024, is accused of a shooting a Ukrainian soldier after he had surrendered in Zaporizhzhia region.
Russian rifleman Dmitrii Kurashov, captured by Ukraine's forces in late January 2024, is accused of a shooting a Ukrainian soldier after he had surrendered in Zaporizhzhia region. © Security Service of Ukraine

Russian POW Arrested for Murder

The rifleman is suspected of shooting and killing a Ukrainian soldier after he had surrendered.

Tuesday, 19 March, 2024

The Zhovtnevy District Court of Zaporizhzhia has taken a Russian prisoner of war into custody on charges of shooting a Ukrainian soldier after the victim had surrendered.

The court register does not name the defendant but files from Ukraine’s security service (SBU) reported his identity as Dmitrii Kurashov, a citizen from Gremyachynsk city in the Perm region. He is a rifleman of the Storm-V assault unit of the 127th Motorised Rifle Division of Russia’s Eastern Military District.

According to the investigation, in the morning of January 6, 2024 the 25-year-old reportedly participated in the assault and capture of a post held by the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces East near Pryutne, a village in the Zaporizhzhia region. 

According to the investigation, Kurashov - call sign Stalker - ordered a Ukrainian soldier who was in the first dugout from the front line to surrender. The Ukrainian soldier, mobilised in March 2022, obeyed: he laid down his weapon, raised his hands, left the dugout and knelt down. The suspect then reportedly opened fire with an assault rifle and killed the Ukrainian soldier with at least three aimed shots.

According to the Commentary on Article 41 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Convention, "a person is considered to be rendered hors de combat either if he is ‘in the power’ of an adverse Party, or if he wishes to surrender, or if he is incapacitated”.

Soldiers surrendering to be captured as prisoners acquire the status of “hors de combat," out of combat in French. They are hence prisoners of war and must be treated humanely. 

Ukrainian forces captured Kurashov in late January 2024 and handed him over to the national policeDuring interrogations, he denied guilt. On February 29, the Russian was informed of the suspicion and on March 6, the court decided to take him into custody until April 29.

“During the questioning of the detainee and his accomplices, the law enforcement officers also found out that [they] received an instruction not to capture Ukrainian soldiers from the command of the occupying forces,” the police statement reported.

Kurashov features in a video on the YouTube channel Не жди меня из Украины (Don’t wait for me from Ukraine), which published information about Russian soldiers who died or have been captured in Ukraine. There is no specific information about the channel’s ownership, but it is connected to Ukraine’s defence forces.

In the footage video Kurashov's eyes are bandaged and he said that his left eye had been damaged by an explosion, although he could see with his right eye. He added that he joined the army from prison, where he was serving time for theft. From the interview, it became clear that Kurashov has multiple convictions.

“I stole food from stores, starved on the street, I could not be hired [find a job] because of my criminal record,” he was heard as saying.

He agreed to join the army to leave the penal colony and signed a contract for military service. 

“I signed up [to serve] because they said that all articles would be removed [meaning that his criminal convictions would be annulled], a new life would begin. I wanted to start life in a new way,” Kurashov said in the video.

He added that when prisoners were recruited into the army, they were promised that they would men military equipment. 

“We’d repair KAMAZ trucks, something like that,” he stated. Instead, he was assigned to the assault brigade.

In the video, Kurashov did not refer to the killing of the Ukrainian soldier.

If convicted of violating the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder (Part 2 of Article 438 of the criminal code), Kurashov faces ten to fifteen years in prison or life imprisonment.

On March 5, before taking the soldier into custory, the Zhovtnevy district court of Zaporizhzhia decided to interrogate three witnesses related to his case, POWs held in the Zaporizhia detention centre. The three are likely to be exchanged, in which case their further participation in the pre-trial investigation and trial will be impossible. The Ukrainian Code of Criminal Procedure allows, in exceptional cases, to conduct such interrogations at the pre-trial stage, without waiting for a trial.

At the end of February, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office stated that they were investigating 19 cases of murder committed by 45 prisoners of war.

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