Ukrainian Medic Apologizes After Saying Russian POWs Should Be Castrated

A Ukrainian frontline medic has apologized for declaring that Russian prisoners of war would be castrated on national television.

Since Russia's invasion, the Ukrainian military has not been shy about sharing gory details about Russian troops they've captured and killed. The latest news of a military medic's directive to castrate Russian soldiers has backfired.

Gennadiy Druzenko, 49, the owner of a war zone mobile hospital in Eastern Ukraine, said he instructed his medical staff to "castrate captured Russian soldiers" because they are "cockroaches, not people," Russian news agency RT reports.

"Trust me, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's military hardware burns well. The corpses of 'Putinoids' may stink, but they become unthreatening," he said, according to RT.

RT says Druzenko also implied Russian prisoners of war "will die in very large numbers" so that surviving Russians remember Ukraine with terror "like the Germans remembered Stalingrad."

On Monday, YouTube blocked the entire livestream segment, which included the interview, after it drew public backlash.

Druzenko, a constitutional lawyer-turned-volunteer frontline medic, apologized for his words after receiving death threats. In a short Facebook post, Druzenko took back his words and added a screenshot that appears to be a threat addressed to him.

Ukraine war
A Ukrainian military medic apologizes after saying Russian prisoners of war would be castrated on TV, saying his emotions got the best of him. Above, Ukrainian servicemen stand guard in Kyiv on Monday. Getty Images

He said his hospital "does not castrate anyone and is not going to. Those were the emotions. I'm sorry. We are saving lives. Period," the post said.

The Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case into the comments made by Druzenko, which means that he could face trial under Russian law, according to RT.

A statement from the hospital's website says Druzenko's comments were "prompted by threats against Gennadiy and his family personally." The statement also claims that his words were taken out of context and "propagated by Russian propaganda channels."

Druzenko heads the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital, a unit of civilian medics that has been providing services to Ukrainian troops since 2014. He is an acclaimed figure at home and has received numerous awards for his work from the Defense Ministry and the National Security Council, according to RT.

In March, Amnesty International called on the Ukrainian government to protect Russian prisoners of war and treat them humanely.

"As the conflict continues, it is essential that all parties to the conflict fully respect the rights of prisoners of war," said Joanne Mariner, director of Amnesty International's Crisis Response Programme.

Druzenko's threat of castration would violate the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit "violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture."

Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian embassy for comment.