Some Russian abuses in Ukraine may be crimes against humanity – UN investigation finds

  • Some of Russia’s actions could be crimes against humanity
  • Russia used electric shock torture “call to Putin” – investigation
  • Children forced to witness rape, held alongside corpses
  • Ukraine has also committed a small number of violations

GENEVA, March 16 (Reuters) – Russia has committed high-profile war crimes in Ukraine, including intentional killings and torture, a UN-mandated investigative body said on Thursday. body.

The alleged crimes, including the deportation of children, were detailed in a report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine, which said certain acts could amount to crimes against humanity.

During her weekly press briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters that Moscow regularly hears such accusations.

She added that if those behind these reports support objectivity “then we are prepared to analyze specific cases, answer questions, provide data, statistics and facts. But if they are biased, if they only represent one point of view… then there is no point in responding to these reports.”

Russia denies committing atrocities or attacking civilians in Ukraine.

Based on more than 500 interviews as well as satellite imagery and visits to detention sites and graves, the report comes as the International Criminal Court in The Hague is set to seek the arrest of Russian officials for forcibly deporting children of Ukraine and attacked civilian infrastructure.

He said Russian forces carried out “indiscriminate and disproportionate” attacks on Ukraine and called for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

“The ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine has had devastating effects on different levels,” Erik Møse, chairman of the commission, told a press briefing. “The loss of life and general disregard for civilian lives…is shocking.”

The report said at least 13 waves of Russian attacks since October against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as well as its use of torture “could amount to crimes against humanity”.

He found that some 16,000 children had been illegally transferred and deported from Ukraine, citing a Ukrainian government figure. Russia denies the charge, saying it voluntarily evacuated people from Ukraine.

Other children were forced to watch loved ones raped or, in one case, held in a school basement next to the bodies of the deceased, according to the report.

Victims in Russian detention centers were subjected to electric shocks with a military telephone – a treatment known as “calling (Russian President Vladimir) Putin” – or hung from the ceiling in a “parrot position”. , according to the report.


The commission’s 18-page report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday. Member countries of the council, the only body made up of governments to protect human rights around the world, aim to broaden and deepen the commission’s mandate.

Sometimes the council’s investigations lead to prosecutions in international courts. The commission said it was working on a list of potential perpetrators that would be passed on to UN authorities.

Asked whether Russia’s actions could constitute genocide, as Ukraine believes, Møse said he had not yet found such evidence but would continue to follow up.

Ukraine, which called for the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russian political and military leaders in the event of aggression following the invasion, said the commission was essential to ensure that Russia would be held responsible.

The commission found reasonable grounds to conclude that the invasion of Ukraine qualifies as an act of aggression.

The report also found that Ukrainian forces had committed a “small number of violations”, including what appeared to be indiscriminate attacks and torture of prisoners of war. The Ukrainian presidency was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Emma Farge; Additional reporting by Filipp Lebedev in Tbilisi; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Raissa Kasolowsky, Editing by William Maclean

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