A war crimes prosecutor from the Kharkiv province stands at the site of a mass burial in the forest with forensic technicians and police officers during an excavation in Izium, Ukraine on September 16, 2022.
Evheny Zavolodni | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Ukraine’s Attorney General Andriy Kostin said Wednesday that local authorities have registered more than 65,000 cases of Russian war crimes since the conflict in Moscow began almost a year ago.
“We all witnessed with horror evidence of atrocities committed in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Izium, Kherson, Kharkiv regions and other liberated cities and towns,” Kostin said, while Ukrainian officials He added that he had found mass graves in areas occupied by the Russians. army.
“These crimes are neither accidental nor accidental. added in a speech at Georgetown Law School.
read more: UN report details gruesome Ukrainian account of rapes, torture and executions by Russian forces
His comments add to a new picture of the horrors experienced during the almost year-long war in Ukraine. The civil war shows little sign of ending any time soon, but local and international officials are trying to investigate possible crimes committed in Ukraine in recent months.
In a separate conversation with journalists, Kostin said he believed Kyiv was close to gaining US support to set up a special tribunal to prosecute Russian aggression crimes.
Because potential war crimes span different jurisdictions, the International Criminal Court cannot prosecute them, nor can heads of state such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. A special tribunal approved by the UN Security Council also seems unlikely, as Russia has veto power over all measures submitted by her 15-member group.
President Joe Biden’s Ambassador for International Criminal Justice, Beth van Schark, said Wednesday that the United States will appoint an interim prosecutor to begin recording evidence of potential crimes that could be used later. He said he was considering the proposal.
Costin recently said that European countries such as France and the United Kingdom have agreed to help create a special tribunal.
Russia has repeatedly denied that its armed forces committed war crimes or deliberately targeted civilians. The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kostin outlined more of what he described as abuse in Russia. His team also documented over 14,000 Ukrainian children who were forced to be adopted in Russia.
“This is a direct policy aimed at demographic change by eliminating Ukrainian identity,” Kostin said.
“These actions are hallmarks of genocidal crimes,” he added.
The death toll in Ukraine is rising as the conflict continues. As of Monday, the United Nations confirmed at least 7,110 civilian deaths in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in late February.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the death toll in Ukraine was likely higher because the armed conflict could delay reporting of deaths.
Kostin added that more than 75,000 buildings, including homes, schools and hospitals, have been reduced to rubble so far.
People keep warm by a fire outside the main railway terminal in Lviv, Ukraine.
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Kostin also condemned Russia’s attempt to weaponize the winter months by targeting critical energy infrastructure across Ukrainian cities.
“Russia is resorting to prohibited methods of warfare, including weaponizing the winter and aiming to starve, freeze and terrorize civilians across Ukraine,” Kostin said. He noted that about half of Ukraine’s energy sector had been destroyed by Russian shelling.
Last year, as winter approached the region, the US chief military officer called Moscow’s intentional targeting of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure a war crime.
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mark Milley told reporters in November It argued that the Kremlin’s “deliberately targeting a civilian power grid and inflicting undue collateral damage and unnecessary suffering on civilians” was a war crime.
read more: Pentagon says Moscow’s intentional targeting of Ukraine’s energy grid a war crime
Milly said at the time that more than a quarter of Ukrainians are estimated to have had no electricity across the country during the winter.
Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin joined Millie in describing Russia’s missile and rocket attacks on civilian infrastructure as “deliberate atrocities” and called on the Kremlin to end the “war of choice.”
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