On war crimes in Ukraine, Amnesty International’s chilling report

On war crimes in Ukraine, Amnesty International's chilling report

WAR IN UKRAINE – After an investigation carried out in Ukraine over twelve days by collecting dozens of testimonies, the NGO Amnesty International affirms it: Russian troops have committed war crimes in the kyiv region, in particular in Boutcha and Borodianka.

In a report titled “He won’t come back”. War crimes in northwestern Kyiv Oblast, published this Friday, May 6, the NGO reports “illegal air strikes” and “extrajudicial executions” targeting civilians. “We met people whose loved ones were killed in terrible attacks and whose lives were forever changed by the Russian invasion,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard during the presentation of the report.

The NGO collected 45 testimonies on so-called illegal killings perpetrated by Russian forces. 39 others concern “air strikes that targeted eight residential buildings”.

In Boutcha, where corpses in the streets were discovered on April 1, and in other localities northwest of kyiv, the NGO says it has listed “22 cases of unlawful killings committed by Russian forces” in the framework for the majority of them of “obvious extrajudicial executions”.

Evhen Petrachenko was “shot in the back, [près de ses] lungs and [son] liver, his wife Tatiana told the NGO. His body remained in the apartment until March 10, when we were able to bury him in a shallow grave in the yard. Her husband, killed on March 4 according to her testimony, was found in the kitchen of their apartment.

On site, Amnesty International researchers found “armor-piercing 7N12 black-tipped bullets in caliber 9×39 mm, which can only be used with specialized weapons used by certain elite Russian units, in particular units which were allegedly deployed in Boutcha at this time”.

“Blind and disproportionate attacks”

Russian soldiers are also accused of targeting vehicles of fleeing civilians. Olexii Sytchevky, whose wife and father Olexandr were killed while driving, explains that “when our car came to a line of trees, I heard gunshots, first one, then a burst”. Her father “was instantly killed by a bullet in the head” and her partner “received shrapnel”.

On the other hand, in Borondionka, the Russian troops are accused of having carried out “blind and disproportionate attacks”, which caused the death of “at least 40 civilians”. “Most of the victims were killed in the basements of the buildings, where they had sought refuge, note the authors of the report. Other people died in their apartment.”

“When I arrived at the garage, about 150 meters from the building, there was a huge explosion, describes Vasyl Yaroshenko. I ducked behind the garage. When I looked, I saw a big hole in the building. The whole part of the middle of the building had collapsed, at the precise place where the inhabitants had taken refuge in the basement. Halima, his wife, was killed in the attack on the building in which they lived for forty years.

According to Amnesty International, “no Ukrainian military targets were in or near the buildings that were hit, although armed individuals supporting Ukrainian forces reportedly fired from some of the buildings or nearby locations on occasion. passing military vehicles”. These bombings constitute an additional “war crime” for the NGO, which wants their perpetrators and their sponsors to be brought to justice.

Last week, the first 10 Russian soldiers were indicted by the office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova for “cruel treatment” and threats of murder against civilians in Boutcha. According to her, throughout Ukraine, “more than 8,000 cases” of alleged war crimes have been recorded.

The NGO also reports that the relatives of the victims deplore the way in which the remains were treated. They regret “chaotic management” and errors in identifying the bodies.

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