2022 9 24 RussianWarCrimesUkraine

UN Investigators Just Issued Their First Report on Russian War Crimes in Ukraine. It Is Horrific.

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It includes evidence of widespread torture, rape, and executions.

On Friday, investigators working for the United Nations delivered a sobering statement to the UN Human Rights Council detailing evidence of Russian war crimes committed as part of the nation’s ongoing occupation of Ukraine, including the rape of children, torture, beatings, electric shocks, forced nudity, and the disappearance of people taken into Russian detention.

These findings came as part of the first official update from three experts who were asked to investigate allegations of war crimes that first arose this spring, soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Their investigation focused on four areas of Ukraine—Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy—where horrific reports of alleged war crimes, including the rape of civilians and summary executions, began to emerge between late February and March of this year as Russia began its war. Friday’s report is the first from the UN to bring forth extensive evidence backing up these allegations, including through interviews with dozens of victims and witnesses.

“We are concerned by the suffering that the armed conflict in Ukraine has imposed on the civilian population,” Erik Mose, chairman of the investigative commission, told the UN.  

Mose’s team told the UN they’d interviewed 150 victims and witnesses across 27 towns and settlements, studied documents, and inspected graves, weapon remnants, and places where detention and torture occurred. Across all this research, they found:

This UN report came out the day before the seven-month anniversary of Russia instigating the war in Ukraine, and at a moment when the conflict is at yet another inflection point. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a partial mobilization for men of military age in Russia—what effectively amounts to a military draft of 300,000 people to replenish the manpower Putin needs to continue fighting against Ukrainians. His announcement spurred attempts by swaths of men and families to flee Russia.

Lines to cross into the neighboring countries of Finland, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Georgia stretched for miles this week, while flights to nearby countries quickly sold out. Videos circulated on social media that appeared to show hours-long traffic jams of cars waiting to cross land borders out of Russia.


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