A UN mission concludes that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine | International


The UN investigative mission in Ukraine concluded this Friday, after visiting that country last June, that war crimes have been committed in areas occupied by Russian troops during the invasion. This has been confirmed by Erik Mose, the group’s president, in his appearance before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva (Switzerland). “We were shocked by the large number of executions perpetrated in the areas we visited,” said this expert, who explained that the mission is investigating this type of murder in 16 Ukrainian towns in the first months of the Russian offensive, despite having received reports of crimes of this type in many other places in the country at war.

Many of those executed were previously detained people whose bodies were found with their hands tied behind their backs, head wounds and neck cuts, according to Mose. All this represents indications that they were summary executions, added the expert. Mose has also denounced sexual and gender-based violence by Vladimir Putin’s soldiers against victims “between the ages of four and 82” and that, in some cases, the relatives of the victims were forced to see how they were mistreated or tortured.

This UN mission, also made up of Colombian Pablo de Greiff and Bosnian Jasminka Dzumhur, has documented cases in which children were “raped, tortured and illegally detained.” In some cases some of them ended up being killed by the Russian soldiers. Several witnesses told the United Nations mission that they had been subjected to beatings, electric shocks and were also forcibly stripped naked during the illegal detentions in which they were transferred from Ukraine to Russian territory.

Mose has also highlighted the repeated use of explosive devices in civilian areas, which have affected schools, residences, hospitals and other infrastructure. Those attacks have killed some 6,000 civilians in seven months of conflict, according to the UN Human Rights office. “A portion of the attacks we investigated were launched without distinction between civilians and combatants,” Mose said.

These conclusions are the first to be made public since the creation of the mission last March. It is in charge of investigating acts perpetrated only in the first two months of the Russian offensive in the areas around kyiv, Chernigov, Kharkov and Sumi. “The recent discovery of more mass graves illustrates the seriousness of the situation,” Mose warned, adding that the mission he chairs has also collected two incidents of mistreatment of Russian soldiers by Ukrainian forces, a type of crime in the that the UN will continue to pay attention, he assured.

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