war crimes; Ukraine has identified more than 21,000 war crimes committed by Russian forces

First published on September 20, 2022, 12:32 PM IST

UMore graves were found in areas where Russian forces had retreated after the Krain counterattack. This time, the graves were discovered in the city of Irpin in eastern Ukraine. During the invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, mass graves were found in all the cities where the Russian army retreated. This time, the mass graves were discovered in the eastern city of Irpin. Meanwhile, the Presidency of the European Union requested an international tribunal against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine has charged war crimes in Izium, where 59 bodies have been found so far. Ukrainian soldiers are investigating the possibility of more mass graves in the wooded area bordering the city. Ukraine claimed that most of the bodies found in the suburb of Irpin were civilians, women and children.

In the 21st century, Czech Foreign Minister Lipavsky said that such attacks on civilians were unthinkable and disgusting. We stand for the punishment of all war criminals and call for the rapid establishment of a special international tribunal to try the crime of aggression.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that there is strong evidence that all the bodies buried in mass graves found in Izum in the Kharkiv region were victims of torture. The Ukrainian army is gathering more evidence to present to the International Court of Justice. After the discovery of the mass grave during the IRP, the call to prosecute Russia became strong internationally.

Zelensky said that more than 10 torture chambers have already been discovered in the liberated areas of Kharkiv region and in different cities and towns. He warned that the Russians would have to answer “on the battlefield and in the courtrooms”. The President of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said last Thursday that Putin would be referred to the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Ukraine.

Russia describes the ongoing invasion of Ukraine since February 24 as a ‘special military operation’ to de-Nazi Ukraine. Russian forces, together with the Belarusian army, began their invasion of the northwestern region of Ukraine. However, after two months, Russian forces withdrew from these areas.

After this, the graves of hundreds of Ukrainians who were killed and buried were found in all the cities where the Russian army passed. As the war enters its eighth month, Ukrainian forces are regaining control of the south-eastern regions of the country, dealing heavy blows to Russian forces. Meanwhile, mass graves have been discovered again in cities where Russian forces retreated.

However, the Russian army is not ready to respond to this yet. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the other day that he will not be deterred by Ukraine’s retaliation and that the Russian military will not change its counterattack plan in the eastern region. Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense said that Russian forces are constantly attacking Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

The UK Chief of Defense Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said that Russian forces are failing all strategic and military objectives in Ukraine, the BBC reported. Wooden crosses were placed on hundreds of graves found outside the city limits of Isium. All of them were marked with numbers, Ukrainian police said.

The head of the National Police Service of Ukraine said that most of the bodies found were civilians. He added that these could be the bodies of those killed by firing, lack of health care or torture. Ihor Klimenko, head of the National Police Service, said it is believed the soldier could be buried here as well, but no evidence has yet been found.

Ukrainian authorities said they believed more than 400 bodies were buried in the area, the BBC reported. Mykhailo Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said “several mass graves” had been found in areas liberated by Ukraine.

‘We have seen wild and horrible people kept without light, without food, without water and without the right to justice. There was no authority there, only people with weapons. We also saw many places where people were being tortured,’ he added. The United Nations said it expected to send a monitoring team to the areas where the mass graves were found in the coming days.

A spokesperson for the United Nations Human Rights Office said it would try to determine whether the dead were civilians or soldiers and what was the cause of death. In the early days of the war, the Russian army captured Isium and made it an important military base for the delivery of Russian troops from the east.

“We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to. Buka, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Isium … Russia is leaving death everywhere,” Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation. “Russia must take responsibility for that.” He also insisted.

Similar mass graves have previously been found in Buka, near the capital Kiev, and near the port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. A local politician said that 80 percent of the city of Isium was destroyed by Russian forces. He said bodies were still being found in the rubble.

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian army claimed to have recaptured several large and small towns in eastern Ukraine regions such as Izium and Kharkiv from Russian forces. There were also reports that the Russian forces had retreated, abandoning their weapons and even their uniforms, unable to stand before the advance of the Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine claims to have identified more than 21,000 war crimes, including the killing and rape of civilians by Russian forces in Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Ukraine also claims to have evidence of deliberate killing of civilians by Russian forces in Bucha and other nearby areas.

The International Criminal Court has already sent investigative teams and forensic experts to Ukraine to gather more evidence. However, Russia reiterated that Ukraine and the West were falsifying evidence. Meanwhile, Sergei Gorenko, the Prosecutor General of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, was killed in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region, which was part of Ukraine. Russian news agencies said that Sergei Gorenko, along with his deputy, were killed in a bomb blast in his office in the regional capital.

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