“Raped, tortured and illegally detained”: UN confirms Russia’s war crimes

The independent UN mission set up to investigate the invasion of Ukraine today confirmed that Russia has committed war crimes including summary executions or sexual violence against children. The Ukrainian delegation called for the creation of a court to judge these abuses at the highest level.

The president of the mission, Erik Moses appeared today for the first time before the United Nations Human Rights Council, which approved this investigation in March, to enumerate a long list of war crimes in the area that they have studied so far (the areas of kyiv, Kharkov, Chernihiv and Sumi ).

“We have been shocked by the large number of executions carried out in the areas we have visited” stressed the Norwegian expert, who indicated that these murders have been identified in at least 16 locations, with evidence such as hands tied behind the backs of the victims, shots in the head or throats slit.

He also mentioned about abuses of minors, “in some cases raped, tortured and illegally detained”, and about crimes of sexual violence committed by Russian soldiers “in which the age of the victims ranges between 4 and 82 years”, sometimes forcing their relatives to witness the abuse.

Mose also cited torture in illegal detention centers such as beatings, electric shocks and forced nudity, sometimes in areas of Russian territory to which the victims were forcibly transferred.

Other war crimes include attacks with explosive weapons on residential areas, schools or hospitals, in which, according to the UN, some 6,000 civilians have died, a strategy “which explains why a third of the Ukrainian population has been forced to flee ”, according to the head of the mission.

His research teams were also in Ukraine in July and August, mainly in areas liberated by troops after the initial Russian offensive in February and March, the months that were the subject of this preliminary investigation.

Regarding the accusations of human rights violations by Ukrainian forces in areas controlled by Russian troops such as Donbas, they pointed out that they have not been able to access those territories, due to Russia‘s refusal to collaborate with the mission.

“If these acts of aggression by a permanent member of the UN Security Council are not answered, we will sink into a dark world of impunity and permissiveness” said the Ukrainian ambassador extraordinary, Anton Korinevich, who assured that the Russian atrocities “had not been seen in Europe in decades”.

The Ukrainian ambassador asked the mission to investigate the murder of tens of thousands of people in Mariupol, the deadly projectile attacks on cities such as Odessa, Vinnitsa, Kremenchuk and Kramatorsk, or “the complete destruction of the face of the earth” of towns such as Severodonetsk, Advivka or Lisichansk.

The preliminary report does not give precise figures of victims, nor does it cite specific personalities from the Russian Government or Army as possible perpetrators of the violations, although the president of the mission promised that in the most complete document that they will present in March 2023 “they will try to identify the perpetrators.