Russia War Crimes Diary – Ukraine edition 17

16 mart., 2023

As Russia’s war against Ukraine grinds on a series of alleged war crimes are being levelled against Moscow. On Monday, the New York Times reported that the International criminal Court will open two war crimes cases – the first international charges since Russia invaded Ukraine – that will look to prosecute Russia’s alleged abduction of Ukrainian children and its targetting of civilian infrastructure. 

Russia has repeatedly denied that it has committed war crimes in Ukraine, and it is not clear who would be charged in the case. But the body of war crimes evidence, which is being investigated by various authorities and journalists, continues to grow. 

On Tuesday, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that in the last 24 hours, at least six civilians were killed and 30 injured in missile strikes.

Last week, in what Russia said was a retaliation for an alleged Ukrainian incursion into western Russia, in which two people were killed, Moscow’s forces launched a barrage of deadly strikes across Ukraine that targetted energy infrastructure. 

However, Ukrainian intelligence has said that new satellites – bought from donations from Ukrainians – are increasing their capacity to detect and counter thousands of pieces of enemy equipment.

‘Hero’ slain in a forest for saying “Glory to Ukraine!”

Video footage that emerged last week of a soldier being slain in a forest for uttering the words “Glory to Ukraine” prompted President Zelenskyy to promise that the killers would be found and that justice would be served. 

The Ukrainian national security service, the SBU, confirmed the identity of the victim as Alexandr Matievschii, a sniper who fought for Ukraine in the northern Chernihiv region against Russian forces. It later prevailed that the soldier held Moldovan citizenship.

Moldova’s foreign ministry on Monday condemned the alleged execution, labelling the slaying a war crime and a “blatant violation of humanitarian law.”

“This is a real hero who, even (when) facing death, demonstrated to the whole world what Ukrainian character and indomitability are,” Vasyl Malyuk, the head of the SBU, said in the statement. 

The SBU said that it is taking “comprehensive measures” to identify the Russian servicemen who committed the alleged crime. You can watch the video here (warning: graphic content, could be upsetting).

Mapping out Russia’s terrorization of Ukrainian civilians

Bellingcat journalists have launched a project to map out and record Russia’s attacks that have caused harm against civilians since the start of the full-scale invasion more than a year ago.

They are the bus stops where people wait at the start of a working day, the playgrounds where they take their children and the post offices where mail parcels and letters are processed,” Bellingcat writes. 

Using open source imagery – including videos and photos from Ukraine that have been collected and verified by Bellingcat’s Global Authentication Project, “tell the story of these key amenities and the citizens killed while using them.”

In some of the aforementioned locations, the use of prohibited cluster munitions were documented, which would constitute a war crimes against civilians, according Yulia Gorbunova, Senior Ukrainian Researcher at Human Rights Watch. You can read the article here.

Ukrainian civilians suffer abuse under Russian capture

Since Russia invaded Ukraine Moscow’s forces have captured countless civilians who have been subjected to abuse and violence, which violates international humanitarian law that aims to protect civilians in wartime. 

Many of them have been forced to live in improper conditions, and have been denied medical care and food, journalists at, who spoke to families of captured civilians, some of whom have not seen their children or husbands for a year. 

“Vanya was tied to a tree, they abused him a lot. He stood in the minus 10 degrees cold for two nights and three days,” the wife of a kidnapped civilian told reporters. Many of them remain in captivity, their whereabouts still unknown. See the video interviews with relatives, here

“CHILDREN” warning on car did not stop Russian fire 

Ukrainian prosecutors published a case last month of two Russians suspected of violating the customs of war. Journalists at identified the two soldiers on social media who were indiscriminately firing at civilian cars in the Kyiv region, some occupied with children.

The civilian cars with Ukrainian families wanted to flee with their children and had to pass through occupied territory, some had even inscribed “children” on the vehicles to avoid being targetted. One such car was a family with a six-year-old child. 

When the father got out of the car with his hands up and notified the Russians that there was a small child in the car – he was shot in the head and killed. His wife, Ksenia, tried to shield their child with her body, but she was shot and also died. The full story can be read here.

The bleak reality of Russian captivity 

Singing the Russia’s national anthem in the morning, praising ‘mighty’ Russia, and living in a world plagued with disinformation, confessing to crimes they did not commit. These are just some examples of the psychological torture Ukrainian prisoners are subject to by Russian forces in Ukraine. 

Some Ukrainian prisoners of war are also subjected to physical torture: brutal beatings, tortured with stun guns, deprived of food, and forced to stay in unsanitary conditions. 

Journalists from Important Stories discovered that the treatment of detained Ukrainian prisoners can be crueler than that of ordinary prisoners. You can read the full article, here.

Edited by Stephen McGrath
Photo source: Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office

Despre autor: Yana Skoryna

Avatar of Yana Skoryna
Yana Skoryna are o experiență de 10 ani în jurnalismul TV din Ucraina, unde a lucrat de la proiecte de anvergură la emisiuni de divertisment pentru diverse canale TV și a fost, de asemenea, editor pe platou. De când s-a mutat în România, Yana scrie la CONTEXT un jurnal al crimelor de război, documentând atrocitățile comise de ruși în Ucraina. Ea face interviuri și scrie poveștile victimelor pentru ca acestea să nu fie uitate și criminalii să fie pedepsiți într-o bună zi. Yana spune că produsele media de calitate sunt create din detalii.

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