HRW Claims Documenting War Crimes in Ukraine

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Thursday that Russian forces controlling much of the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions from late February through March subjected civilians to summary executions, torture, and other grave abuses that are apparent war crimes.

“The numerous atrocities by Russian forces occupying parts of northeastern Ukraine early in the war are abhorrent, unlawful, and cruel. These abuses against civilians are evident war crimes that should be promptly and impartially investigated and appropriately prosecuted,” HRW Europe and Central Asia Associate Director Giorgi Gogia said

The report said Russian soldiers committed 22 apparent summary executions, nine other unlawful killings, six possible enforced disappearances, seven cases of torture, and 21 unlawful confinement in inhuman and degrading conditions.

Previously, Russia denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes and instead accused Ukraine of staging atrocities to smear its forces.

“Many of the cases that Ukraine is talking about are obvious fakes, and the most egregious ones are staged, as has been convincingly proved by our experts,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

According to the HRW report, the agency had visited 17 villages and small towns in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions and interviewed 65 people between April 10 and May 10, former detainees and people who said they had survived torture, families of victims, and other witnesses.

On Wednesday, a soldier charged with murdering a 62-year-old civilian pleaded guilty before a Kyiv district court in its first trial of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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