Russian War Crimes Diary: Ukraine edition 8
The European Parliament this week voted overwhelmingly to recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move it said spotlighted “the atrocities carried out by Vladimir Putin’s regime against Ukrainian civilians,” and pushes for Russia’s further isolation internationally. The MEPs’ vote – adopted by 494 votes in favor, 58 against with 44 abstentions – highlights deliberate attacks by Russian forces against Ukraine’s civilians, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and violations of international and humanitarian law that “amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes,” according to the E.U. legislature.
Russia responded to the E.U. Parliament’s vote by heavily bombarding Ukraine’s infrastructure, which left much of Ukraine without electricity – and for the second time also left neighboring Moldova in the dark. The desperate situation has forced war-torn Ukraine to resort to restricting energy consumption.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stated that, in the event of an emergency power outage lasting more than 24 hours, citizens can find safety at so-called “Unbreakable Points” which are described by authorities as offering “an island of safety, stability, and warmth” for free during outages.
But as the war drags on, and a bitter winter starts to grip amid blackouts, journalists and a multitude of organizations continue to work hard to document alleged war crimes. Ukraine has also been charged by Russia with committing war crimes against its forces.
11 dead: Ukrainian forces accused of committing a war crime
The New York Times has confirmed the authenticity of before and after video footage of a controversial encounter between Ukrainian and Russian forces in which at least 11 Russian soldiers are ultimately seen lying on the ground and “appear to have been shot dead at close range.” The incident has sparked a fierce debate about whether the troubling encounter amounts to a war crime committed by Ukraine. The apparently maimed Russians are said to have surrendered, but one of their military personnel subsequently opened fire on the Ukrainians – which is where the point of controversy lies.
Russia has ordered an international investigation into the potential war crime, while Ukrainian authorities claim their forces were duped by an imitation of surrender.
- You can read the NYT’s detailed report at this link.
In liberated Kherson, harrowing accounts of torture, abuse
Since Russia’s de-occupation of Ukraine’s Kherson region in early November, Ukrainian prosecutors have opened more than 430 potential war crimes cases allegedly enacted by Russian troops, Denys Monastyrsky, Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said. Four sites of torture are being investigated, officials say, and 63 bodies showing signs of torture have so far been found.
Journalists at The Associated Press visited a torture chamber in a police-run detention centre and spoke with locals there. “In all occupied areas that we’ve been able to access, we’ve documented incidents of torture, extrajudicial killings and torture,” Human Rights Watch told the AP.
- You can read the AP’s full article, here.
A woman’s search for her husband spotlights brutality of Russia’s war
The AP in collaboration with Frontline is investigating war crimes in Ukraine. In one story, they tell the story of Tetiana Boikiv, who is searching for her husband after his detainment by Russian forces in the village of Zdvyzhivka, north of Kyiv. Boikiv’s search and discovery illustrate the brutality of Russia’s invasion and highlight the emotional turmoil being left behind for its victims.
“His hands were curled into fists and his body was fixed in a fetal position,” the AP reports. “The joints of his legs were bent at strange angles. One eye was swollen shut, and his skull had been crushed.”
- Read the AP and Frontline’s full story, here.
“People were screaming so much from the torture, that my wife felt sick”
After the key liberation of Kherson from Russian occupation, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into atrocities committed by Kremlin forces. They have discovered four torture chambers.
Journalists at Bihus Info visited one of these torture chambers. The journalists spoke with locals and heard harrowing accounts of how Russian troops tortured residents, by electrocuting their ears, and genitals, and putting nooses around their necks.
“Every day they brought people with bags on their heads, people were screaming so much from the torture that my wife felt sick,” one man said.
- You can watch the video of the torture chambers, here.
A reckoning of countless war crimes
In an article written by Ukrainian journalist Nataliya Gumenyuk of The Reckoning Project, an organization that works to uncover and document war crimes, but first published in Rolling Stone, Ukrainian villagers accuse Russian forces of the torture, abuse, and murder of civilians – actions that constitute war crimes.
“I have spent the past month reporting on the Russian occupation of southern Ukraine, hearing stories of terror and horror again and again, and encountering a civilian population traumatized after occupation and months of grinding war,” Gumenyuk writes in her account of alleged Russian abuses.
- You can read Gumenyuk’s full article, here.
Edited by Stephen McGrath
source: Telegram/ Pravda_Gerashenko
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