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Harrowing Details of War Crimes in Ukraine Released Today

Ukrainian authorities are discussing a mass burial site in Izyum

War crimes, including rape and torture of children, have been committed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine since the start of Vladimir Putin’s war, the head of an investigative body said on Friday. mandated by the United Nations. Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russian soldiers of a litany of rights abuses since the Feb. 24 invasion, though Moscow dismisses the allegations as a smear campaign.

Erik Mose, who heads the Ukraine Commission of Inquiry, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva: “Based on the evidence collected by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes were committed in Ukraine”.

He did not specify who was to blame – but the commission focused on areas previously occupied by Russian forces, including Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.

Investigators from the Commission, created by the HRC in March, visited 27 locations and interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses.

Vladimir Putin’s Russian soldiers raped and tortured children, report says (Image: GETTY)

Izium Tombs

Forensic technicians take a break from exhuming graves in Izium (Image: GETTY)

They uncovered evidence of a large number of executions, including bodies with bound hands, slit throats and gunshot wounds to the head, Mose said.

He said investigators had identified victims of sexual violence between the ages of four and 82. While some Russian soldiers had used sexual violence as a strategy, the commission “did not establish any general pattern to this effect”, Mose added.

Russia denies deliberately attacking civilians in what it has repeatedly called a “special military operation”.

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Erik Mose Ukraine

Erik Mose leads the Ukraine Inquiry Commission (Image: Reuters)

Moscow was called upon to respond to the allegations at the council meeting, but its seat remained empty. There was no immediate official reaction from the Kremlin.

The committee will then turn its attention to allegations of “filtration” camps in Russian-occupied areas for the treatment of Ukrainian prisoners as well as allegations of forcible transfer of persons and adoption of Ukrainian children in Russia.

Ukraine and some other countries have urged the commission to also investigate a mass burial site near Izium in eastern Ukraine where hundreds of bodies were found.

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Polina Kudrin, 10, Sofia Fedko, 10, and Alisa Hlams, 8, are among the children killed in the war (Image: GETTY)

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Twins under medical treatment in a hospital bomb shelter in Ukraine in February (Image: Reuters)

If left unaddressed, Russia’s violations will drag us into a dark world of impunity and permissiveness

Anton Korynevych

Speaking via video link, Ukrainian envoy Anton Korynevych told the council: “If left unaddressed, Russia’s violations will drag us into a dark world of impunity and permissiveness.

Sometimes investigations launched by the council can be used in national and international courts, as in the case of a former Syrian intelligence officer jailed for state-sponsored torture in Germany in January.

Mr Mose said he was in contact with the International Criminal Court about the findings of the commission.

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Ukraine: Arrival of refugees in other countries from March (Picture: Express)

The body, led by British barrister and prosecutor Karim Khan, is due to submit a full report to the council at the end of its term in March 2023, including recommendations on how to hold perpetrators to account.

An April report by Human Rights Watch also accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine.

The cases highlighted included a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022.

Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said, “The cases we have documented represent unspeakable and deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians.

“Rapes, murders and other acts of violence against persons detained by Russian forces should be investigated as war crimes.”

A woman said a Russian soldier repeatedly raped her at a school in the Kharkiv region where she and her family had taken refuge on March 13.

Volodymyr Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky visited Izium last week (Image: GETTY)

He beat her and cut her face, neck and hair with a knife, she added.

The next day, the woman fled to Kharkiv, where she received medical treatment and other services.

Human Rights Watch reviewed two photographs, which the woman shared with Human Rights Watch, showing her facial injuries.

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Source: Express

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