Since Russia invaded Ukraine almost nine months ago, the smaller, and somewhat militarily weaker nation has been fighting hard for its independence and to recapture the eastern territories currently occupied by Russia. The world has since watched with awe at the Ukrainian peoples’ resilience and grit that has rapidly become a hallmark of the nation’s DNA.
Despite Russia intensifying its threat of new attacks, Ukraine continues its fight as it receives strong support from the U.S. and much of the western world. But as the war drags on, a key element is that of documenting Russian war crimes in detail – especially from de-occupied areas – which reporters from all over the world continue to do.
Six hours of suffering for an 11-year-old boy, who later died
The story of Artem, an 11-year-old Ukrainian boy who resided with his family in the city of Mykolaiv, is another testament to the brutality and human suffering of war. Artem’s painful story began in Mykolaiv, which has been under constant shelling by Russian forces, when a five-storey building was struck by a missile. Artem became trapped underneath the huge piles of rubble and debris for six hours, alive and conscious, until rescue workers retrieved him. But Artem’s story took a turn for the worse when he suffered a cardiac arrest at the hospital he was taken to for intensive care, and sadly died.
- Journalists at Bihus.info spoke with the boy’s mother and recreated the chronology of those final moments, which you can read about, here
Like thousands of others, the story of children forcibly displaced to Russia
Ukraine’s eastern city of Mariupol was almost wiped off the face of the earth by Russian forces near the start of the war when it was seized. Many residents managed to flee the city, but many others were buried in the yards of their own properties. Unfortunately, Mariupol leaves no shortage of horror stories, of families being torn apart by war.
Journalist Iryna Lopatina, via The Reckoning Project, tells the story of how one such family, the Mezhevs, was affected in a multitude of horrifying ways at the hands of the Russian invaders – in the reputable magazine, Vanity Fair. She describes in detail in her story the family’s life under shelling, where they eeked out an existence in a bomb shelter, of children forcibly exiled to Russia, and the imprisonment of the father.
- You can read about the family’s painful experience of separation, here
Ukrainian prosecutors put more war crimes in their crosshairs
The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office announced two Russian soldiers who suspect to have tortured and abused civilians in the region of Chernihiv. The grim tale of the two men who were subject to abuse – which would constitute a war crime – is becoming depressingly commonplace as the war drags into its ninth month and similar stories emerge in the aftermath of Russian retreats.
In this area of Chernihiv, the Russian military did not allow the locals to evacuate, and those who tried to leave were shot at with machine guns.
- Journalists at Slidstvo.info talked to residents from the area, and recreated the events of the occupation, which you can read about at this link.
Filtration camps: “idealogical screening, prolonged detention, and … starvation and torture”
The New Yorker published a story of a young Ukrainian man named Taras, from Mariupol who was forced to endure a Russian “filtration camp,” a controversial system that, depending on the conditions and processes in place, can contravene humanitarian law. The lengthy article explores what really happens in these bleak camps, including how Taras managed to get out.
The exact number of Ukrainians being held in such centers in Russia, or Ukraine, isn’t unknown, but Russia says that almost four million Ukrainians “have already undergone some form of filtration.”
For the people who stayed in heavily bombed Mariupol, looking for ways to survive became increasingly difficult while the city was under siege. But for those who dared to leave, many ended up in Russian filtration camps, where even a hint of Ukrainian patriotism could result in not being released.
- Read the full story, here
A Crime Scene: How Russian Soldiers “cleansed” Bucha
Russian atrocities in the Kyiv region of Bucha shocked the world earlier this year after Russian forces retreated from the area – and became a strong testament to the dismal realities of war. Our colleagues at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and Slidstvo-info already published an investigation. They obtained Telegram chats between survivors of the Bucha massacre, which highlighted the extent of Russia’s brutality against civilians.
A new report, however, published by The Associated Press, FRONTLINE and SITU Research, created a comprehensive three-dimensional model of the Bucha massacre, which shows the locations where hundreds of bodies were discovered after Russia’s month-long occupation in March. The report was created to better understand the scale of the atrocities and how the violence unfolded.
- You can read the detailed report, here
Edited by Stephen McGrath
Photo: Anton Orehov/ DTF Magazine