The murder of the three Ukrainians was uncovered by The Times earlier this year which detailed that three men were found in March with shots to the head. According to relatives and residents, the bodies of the men were found in the Ukrainian village of Andriivka to the west of Kyiv.
In March the village was occupied by Russian military forces and heavy armour and the local mayor noted that the men had been partisans.
The men had reportedly hidden behind enemy lines following Russia’s invasion at the end of February to report Russian artillery positions to the Ukrainian army.
A reporter who works for iStories, the independent online Russian magazine, found some of the soldiers who were occupying Andriivka.
A phone loaded with selfies was found in the village after the Russians retreated and the reporter matched the pictures to social media profiles.
Soldier Daniel Frolkin, 21, voluntarily spoke to the iStories reporter on a video call and admitted to being part of an execution squad.
According to Mr Frolkin the commander of the squad told the soldiers to punish the partisans for their role in informing Ukraine.
He told the reporter: “I…confess to all crimes that I committed in Andriivkam – shooting civilians, robbing civilians, confiscating their phones – and that our command does not give a shit about our soldiers.”
Mr Frolkin confessed that he murdered a man with a gunshot to the head and his victim has been identified as Ruslan Yeremchuk, 47, who was found in a garden after the Russian withdrawal in April.
Mr Yeremchuk was identified by the magazine who considered the circumstances and sent a picture of him to Mr Frolkin.
It was also confirmed by another member of Daniel Frolkin’s squad who was with him at the time.
During the investigation into identifying Mr Yeremchuk, it was discovered that at least 13 men who stayed in the village were killed.
Three of these, Mr Yeremchuk, Vadym Ganiuk, 33, and Vitaliy Kybukevych, 45, were killed on the same day by the same group of soldiers.
According to Frolkin, Liutenant Colonel Andrey Prokurat ordered the squad to carry out the murders.
Frolkin was ordered to punish and kill Mr Yeremchuk, saying: “I just took him out of the house.
“I tell him, ‘Walk ahead’. He walks ahead. I tell him, ‘On your knees’. And then just a bullet in the head. I then shook for a very long time. I killed one, but I wanted to save as many people as possible.”
The 21-year-old admitted he acted in revenge after his victim revealed locations to the Ukrainians.
He said: “I understand that’s revenge – it’s a shitty thing. But I took revenge and knew what I was getting into.
“This is the only person I’ve killed in the whole seven months during which the special operation has been underway. I’ve saved 86 people, killed one.”
Frolkin’s confession confirmed the image of Russian soldiers being sent to Ukraine thinking they were on exercise in Belarus until being told the day before the invasion they were going to Ukraine to fight.
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Those who tried to quit were threatened with execution.
When Frolkin was approached for an interview he initially denied everything until he called back the reporter for a second interview to confess.
He claimed he wanted to confess because his commanders “do not consider ordinary soldiers to be people’” and he added that the unit is being sent back to the front line again.
Frolkin hoped that his confession may prevent them from going to the frontline saying: “It is better to destroy one life than to destroy the lives of 200-300 people.
“I know all these boys. Fifty people who remained from our battalion, they are good people, I don’t want to ruin their lives, they are with me from conscription.”
He concluded: “I just want to confess everything and explain what is happening in our country.
“I think it would be better if this war did not happen at all.”