Monday, October 3, 2022

Killing of Ukrainian citizens could lead to further sanctions

KYIV, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Western governments were preparing to impose tougher sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, as Ukraine investigates documents and widespread killings of civilians and other alleged war crimes.

KYIV, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Western governments were preparing to impose tougher sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, as Ukraine investigates documents and widespread killings of civilians and other alleged war crimes.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for war-crimes trials for Russian soldiers and their leaders, warning that they are being relegated to new attacks in Ukraine’s east and south. Ukraine’s military said that Russia was preparing an offensive in the east of Ukraine aimed “to establish complete control over the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions”.

Overnight, Russian forces attacked a fuel depot and a factory in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, the region’s governor, Valentin Reznichenko, said on the messaging app Telegram early Wednesday. The number of casualties was unclear.

“The night was dangerous and difficult. The enemy attacked our territory from the air and attacked an oil depot and a plant. The oil depot was destroyed along with the fuel. Rescuers are still extinguishing the flames at the plant,” Reznichenko wrote.

Police in Romania’s capital Bucharest said a car hit the Russian embassy gate early Wednesday, igniting a fire and killing the driver. There was no immediate information about a possible motive or other details.

In Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, one person was killed and five others were injured on Tuesday in shelling in the city of Rubizan, its governor Serhi Haidai said on Telegram.

Parts of Donetsk and Luhansk have been under the control of Russian-backed rebels since 2014 and are recognized by Moscow as independent states. As of now, Ukrainian forces are trying to push Russian troops east, but are outnumbered in both troops and equipment, Zelensky said in a video address to his country late Tuesday.

Evidence of the deliberate killing of civilians in Buka and other cities before the withdrawal of Russian forces from the outskirts of Kyiv has drawn global outrage. Western countries have expelled several Moscow diplomats and are expected to impose more sanctions on Wednesday.

They will include a ban on all new investment in Russia, a senior US administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the upcoming announcement.

Meanwhile, the EU’s executive branch proposed a sanctions on coal imports from Russia with an estimated 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) per year. It will be the first time the 27-nation bloc has approved the country’s lucrative energy industry for war.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Zelensky said civilians were tortured, shot in the back of the head, thrown down wells, pelted with grenades in their apartments in cities around Kyiv. Delivered and crushed by tanks while in cars.

Those who carried out and ordered the killings “should be brought to justice immediately for war crimes” before a tribunal established in Nuremberg after World War II, he said.

“But we have no choice – the fate of our land and our people is being decided,” he said. “We know what we’re fighting for. And we’ll do everything to win.”

Russia has insisted that its troops have not committed any war crimes.

Moscow’s UN ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia, said “not a single local person” was victimized by the violence while Buka was under Russian control. Reiterating the Kremlin’s comments, he said the scenes of bodies on the streets were staged “a crude forgery” by Ukrainians.

In Buka’s still largely empty streets, dogs roamed among ruined buildings and burned military vehicles. The officers photographed the corpses before collecting some of them.

Survivors of the months-long Russian occupation showed investigators the bodies of the townspeople who were allegedly shot by Russian soldiers. Those who hid in their homes during the occupation, many of them beyond middle age, wandered through charred tanks and jagged windowpanes with plastic bags of food and other humanitarian aid. Red Cross personnel checked in monolithic houses.

Associated Press reporters in Buka counted dozens of corpses in civilian clothing and interviewed people in Ukraine who reported witnessing the atrocities. In addition, high-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies showed many bodies lying in the open for weeks while the Russian military was in the city.

As Associated Press reporters observed, the dead in Bucha included a pile of six charred bodies. It was unclear who they were and how they died. One of the bodies was probably that of a child, said Andrey Nebyotov, the police chief in the Kyiv region.

Many of the dead, seen by Associated Press reporters, were shot at close range, and some had their hands tied or their flesh burned.

The Associated Press and PBS series “Frontline” have jointly verified at least 90 incidents during the war that appear to be in violation of international law. The War Crimes Watch Ukraine project is investigating apparent targeted attacks and indiscriminate attacks.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Buka’s images showed “not an accidental act of a rogue entity” but “a deliberate campaign to kill, torture, rape, torture”. He said the reports of the atrocities were “more than credible”.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague launched an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine a month ago.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, in Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv, a 25-year-old, Dmitry Yevtushkov, searched the rubble of apartment buildings and found only a photo album left from his family home.

In the besieged southern town of Mykolaiv, a passerby pauses briefly to look at the bright flowers of a broken flower stand scattered among spots of blood, the legacy of a Russian shell that killed nine people in the city center. The spectator sketched the sign of the cross in the air and moved on.

British defense officials said on Wednesday that 160,000 people were trapped in Russian airstrikes and heavy fighting in the southern port city of Mariupol.

The Ministry of Defense Intelligence said the city had “no light, communications, medicine, heat or water.” It accused the Russian military of deliberately withholding humanitarian access, “likely to pressure the defenders to surrender.”

Efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross to bring a humanitarian convoy to Mariupol have failed. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said the Russian military blocked buses with Red Cross workers from traveling to Mariupol, which had a pre-war population of more than 400,000. He said Russian troops allowed 1,496 civilians to leave the Sea of ​​Azov port on Tuesday.

While both Ukrainian and Russian representatives sent optimistic signals after their latest round of talks a week ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not accept a Ukrainian demand that a potential peace deal include an immediate withdrawal of troops. , which is followed by a Ukrainian referendum. a settlement.


Oleksandr Stashevsky and Kara Anna in Buka, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine, and Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report.


Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the war

Adam Schreck, Associated Press

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