Report on alleged Ukrainian war crimes presented to UN
A commission set up by the UN human rights watchdog, the OHCHR, has documented at least two war crimes committed by the Ukrainian military amid the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.
The preliminary, unedited version of the document, compiled by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, was submitted to the General Assembly on Tuesday.
According to the report, the commission has “documented two cases in which Ukrainian armed forces shot, wounded, and tortured captured Russian armed forces soldiers, which are war crimes.” Both instances, which occurred early in the conflict and came to light after the Ukrainian fighters themselves posted footage of their war crimes online, received wide media coverage at the time.
The first incident acknowledged by the UN’s commission occurred in late March in the village of Malaya Rogan in Kharkov Region. “Ukrainian armed forces soldiers deliberately shot three captured Russian armed forces soldiers in the legs at close range and beat one of them with a rifle butt, while interrogating them,” the report reads. Footage of the incident, however, suggests that over a dozen Russian POWs were subjected to such treatment, with some of them apparently dying during the Ukrainian ‘interrogation.’
Another documented incident occurred in the village of Dmitrovka, outside Kiev “around 29 March,” amid the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area. “A Ukrainian armed forces soldier shot three times at close range, and wounded, an already wounded Russian armed forces soldier. A video shows other motionless Russian armed forces soldiers nearby, including one with hands tied behind his back and an apparent wound to his head, suggesting that he had likely been executed,” the commission noted.
While acknowledging Ukrainian wrongdoings, the report, however, unequivocally states that “Russian armed forces are responsible for the vast majority of the violations identified.” While the instances of mistreatment of Russian POWs at the hands of Ukrainian fighters are backed by hard evidence, such as videos, the alleged violations committed by Russian forces mostly rely on the accounts of witnesses.
Among other things, the report reiterates the allegations of widespread sexual violence by the Russian military, claiming that the purported “victims range from four to over 80 years old.” The claims resemble those made by the ousted Ukrainian human rights commissioner, Lyudmila Denisova, who had extensively disseminated wild stories about alleged widespread sexual violence. The ombudsman was removed in late May over what was deemed a failure to perform her duties. In particular, she was slammed for “inexplicably focusing” on spreading unverified and unsubstantiated information. According to Ukrainian media reports, most of the rape claims made by Denisova turned to be fake, with local prosecutors finding no evidence to back them.