Igor Strelkov, the self-proclaimed Defense minister made his first public appearance on Thursday at a news conference in Donetsk.
Igor Strelkov, the self-proclaimed defense minister made his first public appearance on Thursday at a news conference in Donetsk.Reuters File

In what could be a damning revelation, reports have emerged that pro-Russia rebels may have executed at putting them before a firing squad for crimes as petty as stealing.

It is reported that the executions were carried out by using outdated Stalin-era laws under a 'military tribunal' headed by the Kremlin rebels in Sloviansk. The Kremlin supporters now have fled the area, but the Ukraine crisis is far from over.

Self-proclaimed defense minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, Igor Strelkov was reportedly involved in the custodial torture of captured prisoners, including the execution.

The Ukrainian Forces that recently reclaimed the regional Security Services headquarter found the documents. The fleeing rebels had set fire to the entire building, but the fire failed to destroy several documents that now have been found by the forces, reported Kyiv Post.

The execution orders the report noted were signed by the tribunal under rebel nicknames Nose and Baloo.

The three men ordered to be executed by firing squad were petty criminals, who were arrested for crimes that were never proved. The daily quoted the mother of Alexei Pichko, the 30-year-old, who was put before the machine gun for stealing as saying: "They shot him for two shirts."

The report notes that two more Ukrainians were executed by firing squad for disobeying Igor Strelkov.

Strelkov, who emerged from the shadows recently, is claimed to be a former Russian soldier. After losing hold of Sloviansk, he has reportedly asked the rebels to continue on the bloody rebellion from Donetsk and Luhansk that is still under rebel control.

A New York Times report noted that "Strelkov" was a caricature of the Putin era. An ultra-nationalist and reactionary, who joined in the Russia's invasion of Crimea and then advanced towards eastern Ukraine. And he is said to be controlling the rebel soldiers and the people under him with dark and ruthless justice.

Reports further indicate that Strelkov may have gone rogue after Russia cut itself out of the Ukraine crisis following international support. The rebel leader, who is now looking at a bleak future is expected to continue on the bloody path, till he is either captured or killed.