Russia War Crimes Diary – Ukraine edition 18

06 apr., 2023

For over a year now, Ukraine has been bravely facing down Russian aggression as Moscow’s forces attempt to undermine Ukrainian culture, language, and values, and above all, demoralise its people into abandoning the war effort. 

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Bucha, the northern Ukrainian town in the Kyiv region that gained worldwide attention when the atrocities committed there by Russian forces were exposed. Today, the residents of Bucha are pushing to rebuild their lives and their community, embodying the resilient spirit that has endeared Ukraine to the world since Russia invaded.

Despite the ongoing conflict, most Ukrainians remain committed to fighting for freedom, independence, and democracy, and are willing to defend those values at any cost.

Atrocities, however, are still being committed as the war drags on, and many journalists, volunteers, law enforcement officials, and other organisations continue to document potential war crimes and collect evidence, in the hope that an international tribunal can one day serve justice.

HRW investigation spotlights Russia’s deadly civilian attack

Human Rights Watch has released an interactive investigation into one of Russia’s deadliest attacks on Ukrainian civilians since it invaded more than a year ago. The attack in Izium, in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region, on Mar. 9, killed at least 44 people and allegedly violated the laws of war.

HRW researchers reconstructed the aftermath of the bombing of the residential apartment block through the harrowing story of Mykhailo Yatsenyuk, who lost his entire family in the attack. The interactive report, titled “A Thousand Explosions in My Ears,” uses “survivor testimony, photos, videos, and 3D modeling to show the devastating effects” of Russian forces’ attack.

The Soviet-era FAB-500 bomb used by Russian forces wiped out all five floors in the central part of the building, killing dozens of civilians. HRW spent three weeks in Izium interviewing survivors, witnesses, family members of victims, and emergency responders at the scene of the attack.

„My family was crushed and killed in the basement,” Mr. Yatsenyuk told researchers at HRW.

  • You can watch the investigation here

NYT speaks to former director of nuclear plant, seized by Russians

The former director general of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant alleges that employees at the southern plant were tortured and beaten by Russian forces, according to an interview with the New York Times.

Ihor Murashov said employees at Energoatom were “dragged off to a place they called ‘the pit” at a nearby police station, returning beaten and bruised – “if they returned at all.” Murashov also witnessed precarious safety situations at the plant – located in the town of Enerhodar – while under Russian control. In addition to nearby shellings, Russian forces were found hiding military equipment in the nuclear reactor rooms, posing a threat of a nuclear incident at what is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

According to Murashov, the Russian forces occupying the plant attempted to force him to sign a contract with the Russian state-owned nuclear conglomerate, Rosatom, but he refused. He was subsequently detained by Russian soldiers on his way home from work and forced to record a video statement.

“The worst thing that I voiced is that quite likely the station was shelled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Mr. Murashov recalled. “They made me sign a paper saying that my statement could not be retracted.”

  • Read the full NYT story, here

Ukrainian children illegally deported, rescued by Ukrainian journalists

Ukrainian authorities say that several hundred thousand Ukrainian children have been forcibly and illegally deported to Russia during the war. These deportations are often presented to the victims and their families as mere vacations and they’re told that they will return home in a matter of weeks. 

However, this is seldom the case, as children are subjected to Russian “re-education” programs aimed at erasing their culture, language, and identity, in direct violation of international humanitarian laws. This includes being forced to learn Russian anthems, language, and rules, during which time they often lose contact with their families, which heightens their psychological torment.

Journalists from the Ukrainian news platform Slidstvo.Info, reported and intervened in the cases of 17-year-old Masha and 18-year-old Nastia from Kherson, who were forcibly taken to the Russia-annexed Crimea and later to Russian-occupied Henichesk, where they were held “practically in prison conditions.”

The practice of forcibly deporting children and subjecting them to inhumane conditions has been condemned by various international organisations. The girls’ situation was worsening each day as the journalists set about returning the girls to Ukraine.

  • Read more about the girls’ rescue, here

In Bucha, three young Ukrainians were slaughtered 

In March of last year, a tragic incident occurred in Bucha, a city in the northern Kyiv region where Russian soldiers fired 90 bullets at a car carrying volunteers, which killed three young people.

Journalists at Suspilne conducted an investigation and retraced the events of that incident on Mar. 4, and claim to have identified the perpetrators responsible for the murders of Nastia, Maksym, and Serhiy, who were between 25 and 28 years old.

Maxim was shot in the head. On the spot”, Nastya’s mother told reporters. She said Nastya was shot in the legs and fell to the ground after jumping out of the car. Serhiy also jumped out of the car but was killed along with the other two victims. As part of the investigation, the journalists were able to contact a soldier allegedly involved in the murders.

  • Read more about the investigation at this link

Journalists claim to identify Russians behind brutal interrogations

Journalists at claim to have identified the Russian soldiers – via their social media pages – who are suspected of brutally torturing two Ukrainian citizens in the town of Vasylivka in the war-torn country’s southern Zaporizhzhia region.

The two Russians threatened to murder the two hostages’ relatives and brutally tortured the pair with electric shocks, among other torture methods. 

The mother of one of the Russian soldiers alleged to be behind the cruel interrogations, is an outspoken supporter of Moscow’s so-called “special military operation,” and supports the killing of Ukrainians, according to the journalists who analysed her social media pages.

  • You can read more about their investigation, here

Edited by Stephen McGrath
Photo source: Ionuț Iordăchescu

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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