As Moscow’s forces continue to bombard Ukraine with targeted attacks on energy infrastructure as winter takes hold, the embattled nation is making strides in its aerial defenses, according to the Ukrainian President.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that 13 Irainian-made Shahed drones were launched toward the capital Kyiv but that all of them were shot down. No one was injured in the attack.
Also this week, U.S. officials are reported to have agreed to send to Ukraine a Patriot missile battery, something that President Zelenskyy has been long seeking to protect his nation against incoming Russian missiles. Meanwhile, Ukrainian citizens are adapting to the harsh realities of war in winter, thanks to programs from government agencies that provide citizens with advice on what to do during power outages, and procedures to follow to protect themselves from potential landmines left behind by Russian forces.
Ukrainian authorities continue to work to try to bring to justice those accused of war crimes in the country.
A Ukrainian civilian was killed, then his body was mined
Two Russian contract soldiers stand accused of killing a 46-year-old Ukrainian civilian in the Kyiv region of Gostomel who allegedly refused to help them carry boxes of ammunition. Then, they planted a mine on his body, an act prohibited by international law. Journalists at Slidstvo.info spoke to someone who witnessed the murder of Dmitry Ryazantsev, and used social media platforms to help identify the Russians who killed him. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, it was two soldiers contracted by Moscow were involved in the murder.
When Ryazantsev’s sister, Iryna, wanted to bury his body the Russians forbade her to do so.
“When we arrived with forensic experts, there was a stick near the body and a gas mask on the stick. And I had this thought: ‘I have seen this somewhere, it was a sign that there is a mine or a tripwire’,” she recalled in a conversation with Slidstvo.info, “then the guys took us to the prosecutor’s office to testify, and then I was told that (his body) was mined.”
- You can read the full article, which includes a video, here.
Russian forces leave behind sinister trails of terror, destruction
Russian forces withdrawing from captured areas of Ukraine are leaving behind a sinister trail of terror: explosive devices – mostly known as mines – hidden in everything from dead bodies to everyday objects. The aim is to torment civilians who have already survived an occupation.
Such devices are prohibited under international law because of the suffering they invariably inflict on civilians. The Washington Post has documented stories of Ukrainians who have had limbs blown off, or been left disabled while walking on their own premises or on public streets. “I had no leg, just a piece of meat hanging off my heel,” 69-year-old Lyudmila Ivanenko told the Washington Post from her hospital bed.
- You can read the full story, here.
The cruelty of Russia’s Kherson torture chambers
In the de-occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson life is gradually returning back to normal. The local currency has returned, some shops are opening and others are being rebuilt. But despite the hopeful signs, new war crimes allegedly committed by Russian forces are also being discovered – including torture chambers.
During the occupation of Kherson, the so-called police of the illegally annexed region brutally tortured people. Electrical currents were connected to peoples’ ears, and fingers, and also beaten with batons. One Kherson resident of the now-liberated city showed the news website “Schemes” the scars left on his body from his own experiences of torture.
- Read more about the Kherson torture chambers, here.
Two dead: After underwear revealed army ties, a Russian soldier opened fire
When the Ukrainian village of Sloboda in the northern Chernihiv region was occupied by Russian forces in March, two Ukrainian soldiers did not have time to leave. Anxious about being caught, the pair tried to disguise themselves in the house of local Anatoliy Miroshnikov.
“I gave them my clothes and helped them to blend in with civilians,” Miroshnikov told journalists at Slidstvo.info, “and when the occupants came, they were ordered to undress.”
According to the Geneva Convention, if the captured soldiers do not pose a threat then they are entitled to protection as prisoners of war under international humanitarian law. However, one of the Ukrainians was discovered to be wearing underwear that indicated he was a member of the armed forces – and both were shot with automatic weapons as a result.
- You can read more about this case, here.
He watched his wife, and two small children killed by Russian soldiers
When Russian forces retreated in spring from the small Ukrainian suburb of Bucha, the atrocities were revealed and they shocked the world. The Kyiv suburb quickly became synonymous with the horrific nature of war crimes and the brutalities of conflict when the rulebook is ignored. Mass torture, rape, and civilians slain in the streets.
Journalists at Suspilne News spoke to a witness who recalled the story of a family of four from Bucha, three of whom were shot and killed as they tried to flee the carnage. The survivor was Oleksandr Chikmarev, who saw his wife and two small children being killed by Russian bullets. The journalists identified the Russians involved in the horrific murder.
Edited by Stephen McGrath
Photo: Three bodies of local civilians were discovered in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region in the south. Source: Mykolaiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, published Dec. 8, but the date of photo is not provided.