Russian War Crimes Diary: Ukraine edition 3

12 oct., 2022

As Moscow intensifies its strikes all over Ukraine in response to a series of humiliating battlefield losses, notably an attack on a key bridge linking Russia and Crimea, more civilians are losing their lives in the 9-month-old war. But as Russia’s missiles rain down, and return to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv for the first time since June, investigators and journalists continue to work tirelessly to record and tally war crimes committed by Russian forces.

„They threatened to cut off my ears and nose. They wanted to sign my back with a knife; they wanted to leave autographs,” one survivor of Russian captivity said 

The recently liberated Ukraine villages of Kupyansk, Balakleya, and Izyum, which border Russia are now reduced to ruins. Many homes have been damaged by Russian shells; many of them are now skeletal structures with just their foundations remaining. But the cruelest thing the occupiers left behind are the scars of the atrocities committed against the locals and the Ukrainian military. Many people survived horrific torture, and many others from those areas continue to search for their abducted relatives. 

  • Find here’s account about how locals survived Russian captivity and are dealing with the trauma left behind in the wake of liberation 

„I thought it would be better if they shot me”, a survivor said

A Russian torture chamber for civilians was discovered in the Kyiv region, according to three human rights organizations who released a report titled  „Illegal Arrests and Torture at Dymere, Kozarovichi, and Katyuzhanka in Ukraine.” In these dark, dismal places, Ukrainian civilians were subject to torture, including physical violence, dehydration, and restricted access to fresh air. The Russian occupants, according to the report, did not even spare the elderly from their barbaric methods. Survivors in the “Important Stories” accounts say that the physical torture was such that they hoped to die rather than endure the suffering.  

  • Read the report, released by International Partnership for Human Rights, Truth Hounds, and Global Diligence, here

24 dead, including 13 children and a pregnant woman

Ukraine’s Security Service is investigating another war crime committed by Russian troops in the Kharkiv region, where a convoy of civilian vehicles – situated in a “gray zone” for civilians fleeing the bombardment of shells – was struck at close range with small arms. To hide their crime, the Russian invaders are believed to have set fire to the bodies. 

  • You can find the materials of the investigation, here

U.N. human rights mission in Ukraine reports Russian war crimes and „untold suffering and devastation”

Investigators from the United Nations are receiving an increasing number of reports saying that the Russian military is torturing civilians in Ukraine, including military prisoners of war. The U.N. human rights mission in Ukraine, which has drawn on more than a thousand interviews with victims and witnesses, has documented deceased prisoners of war whose bodies had clear signs of torture, including severed fingers. They also report the enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention of 407 people in Russia-controlled territory from February to July, and the rape of children by Russian soldiers. 

  • To read the New York Times’ report, please click on this link.

Anatomy of the Mariupol hospital attack, which the U.N. has stated is a war crime

Russia’s attack on the maternity hospital in Ukraine’s southeast port town of Mariupol shocked the world early on in the conflict and brought a human face to the brutal reality of war. Five people were killed and many wounded, all during a period when the hospital in the besieged town was receiving patients, including pregnant women. While Russia tried tirelessly to prove that there were no employees or patients at the hospital, arguing that it was a Ukrainian military facility, U.N. representatives have stated that the attack was a Russian war crime. CNN journalists created a model to identify that the hospital is still used by civilians. 

  • You can read more about it, here.

Illegal weapons used against Ukraine

Russia’s war crimes – which are being tirelessly documented – are also related to the use of prohibited weapons in Ukraine. These include cluster bombs, flares, and unguided missiles targetting residential areas. Remnants of such bombs have been discovered in the bodies via autopsies, as well as from civilian cars that came under fire by Russian forces. In May, the Guardian gathered evidence on the ground in the Kyiv region and sent it to The Hague, the international criminal court, to file charges.

  • You can read more on this topic, here

Edited by Stephen McGrath
Photo: Daria Khyzhniakova-Bilokon

Despre autor: Yana Skoryna

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