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New report details Russian torture of Ukrainian civilians

Developments of the Russia Ukraine War
FILE – Men wearing protective gear carry a corpse during the exhumation of civilians killed in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 8, 2022.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP


Washington— An international investigation has found grim new evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraineidentifying cases of direct targeting of civilians, torture, rape and forced deportations.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a regional security organization, released a report on Thursday detailing “clear patterns of serious violations of international humanitarian law” committed primarily by the Russian military.

The report details the torture of Ukrainian civilians by Russian troops.

At a summer camp in Bucha, just outside kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, occupied for more than two weeks by Russian forces, investigators said they found a series of torture chambers.

“In Zabuchchya, a village in Bucha district, 18 mutilated bodies of murdered men, women and children were discovered in a basement: some had their ears cut off, while others had their teeth pulled out” , according to the report.

Speaking in Vienna on Thursday, US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter described a Russian missile attack on the central town of Vinnytsia that killed more than 20 people, including 3 children, as ” disgusting,” but “a reality we all face every day.”

Ukrainian emergency services showed footage of a child’s corpse lying on the ground next to a play stroller she was pushing down the road with her mother when the missiles struck.

In an interview with CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent Holly Williams, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called the strike the latest proof that his country is at war with “a state of terrorists.”

“They are using this weapon against civilians, against civilian facilities, against hospitals…against kindergartens,” he said.

The OSCE report says that with Russia increasingly unable to muster enough of its own forces, it has recently begun resorting to conscription of Ukrainian men aged 18 to 65 from the territory it occupies and sending them straight to the front lines with little or nothing. coaching.

“The escalation and increase in the number of casualties has begun to anger even within pro-Russian communities. Several videos uploaded allegedly show the wives of conscripts from Donetsk and Luhansk asking for help for their husbands and asking why men without military training are sent to fight,” according to the report.

Incidents of gender-based violence remained prevalent throughout the war, the report says. Natalia Karbowska, co-founder and director of strategic development of the Fund for Ukrainian Women, suggested during a UN Security Council briefing in June that “the Russian Federation uses sexual violence and rape as instruments of terror to control civilians”.

In one case, 25 girls between the ages of 14 and 24 were reportedly held in a basement in Bucha where they were allegedly gang-raped by Russian troops. Nine of the girls became pregnant, according to the Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has bestowed the honorary title of “guard” on the military unit accused of war crimes in Bucha, according to a Russian presidential decree.

In a Facebook post, the Russian Embassy in the United States dismissed the report as an attempt by Washington “to defame the armed forces of the Russian Federation”, which it said was due to “dissatisfaction with the success of a special military operation”. Putin’s regime has always called the invasion of Ukraine a “military operation”. Calling it a war can land Russians in jail.

The OSCE report also mentions the “filtering centers”, set up by the Russian occupation forces, where Ukrainian civilians “are separated from others and often simply disappear”.

The report says those detained are handed over to authorities in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where some are sentenced to death.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for an immediate halt to Russia’s “filtration” operations and the release of detained Ukrainian civilians. Russian authorities deported between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, deliberately separating Ukrainian children from their parents, according to the Biden administration.

“The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians and constitutes a war crime,” Blinken said in a statement Wednesday. “The Russian authorities must release those detained and allow Ukrainian citizens forcibly deported or forced to leave their country to be able to return home quickly and safely.”

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Post expires at 6:39am on Thursday July 21st, 2022