Authorities in Ukraine have shown off two Russian soldiers who were captured during a battle with pro-Russian separatist rebels in the country’s east on Sunday.
The two wounded soldiers, identified as Captain Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Sergeant Aleksander Aleksandrov, were taken to a medical facility in Kiev where they are receiving treatment for the injuries they sustained during the shoot-out with Ukraine’s Aidar volunteer battalion.
While Yerofeyev replied briefly to some questions posed to him by reporters, thanking the hospital staff for their “professional help,” Aleksandrov refused to speak.
From what is known of the soldiers, they were both working as contracted combatants in Ukraine as part of the Russian army’s main intelligence branch.
According to AFP, the two soldiers are now being kept in separate medical rooms under the guard of security forces and are awaiting trial for committing ‘“terror” offences in the country. If they confess, they may be deported back to Russia.
Representatives from the European Union, the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Amnesty International have been allowed to visit the soldiers in hospital.
The capture of the soldiers comes just days after the release of a report published by the Russian opposition claiming at least 220 Russian soldiers were killed in the war in eastern Ukraine in the past year.
The 64-page report, called “Putin.War,” was originally drawn up by assassinated opposition leader Boris Nemtsov before being completed and published by opposition figures led by Ilya Yashin and released on May 12.
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of sending forces to help the rebels in eastern Ukraine. However, it has admitted that there are Russian nationals fighting Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions alongside separatists.
Although Russia and Ukraine agreed on a truce earlier this year in February, the West and Ukraine have frequently accused Russia of deploying soldiers to the region.
Over 6,200 people have been killed in the fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists, which started in April 2014 after the separatists gained control of Donetsk and Luhansk.