The attack on a prison with Ukrainian prisoners of war explained

The attack on a prison with Ukrainian prisoners of war explained

In a week punctuated by allegations between Moscow and Kyiv, including the bombing of a prison housing Ukrainian prisoners of war, chilling new footage emerged of the torture and execution of a Ukrainian prisoner of war.

The videos, not linked in this article, show a Ukrainian prisoner of war being gagged, castrated, shot and dragged down a street; They appeared on Russian Telegram channels, the Kyiv Post reported. While independent verification of when or where the videos were filmed has not yet been possible, Aric Toler, the investigative collective’s director of research and education, told the Washington Post that the “Z” symbol was used to show support for the Showing Russians war effort refutes some claims that the video predates the war in Ukraine.

This is hardly the first time that Russian soldiers have engaged in the mistreatment of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian authorities and international human rights organizations have recorded a constant stream of violence. In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported ten witnesses or victims’ accounts of executions, mock executions, sexual violence and looting in Russian-held territories. One woman told HRW that a Russian soldier sexually assaulted and beat her while she was seeking refuge in Malaya Rohan, a village in the Kharkiv region. Another witness reported that Russian soldiers had five men kneel with their shirts pulled over their heads before shooting one of them dead.

“Rape, murder and other acts of violence against persons in the custody of Russian forces should be investigated as war crimes,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in the release.

The bombing of the prison by prisoners of war, some of whom were involved in defending the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, has sparked an even more heated debate over Russia’s treatment of Ukrainian prisoners and POWs. The attack in a community called Olenivka left at least 53 dead and 75 wounded, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has released a statement asking for access to the injured “to assess the health and condition of everyone present at the scene at the time of the attack.”

According to the Geneva Conventions, Russia is obliged to give the ICRC free access to all prisoners of war. While the ICRC has asked for access to the prison where Ukrainian prisoners of war died in Olenivka and has offered to help evacuate those wounded in the attack on the facility, it has not received permission to do so as of Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy called for an investigation, saying the bombing of the facility where Ukrainian prisoners of war were held was a war crime.

“When the Azovstal defenders left the plant, the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross acted as guarantors of the lives and health of our soldiers. The Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Security Service, the Main Intelligence Directorate and the representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine issued a joint statement addressed to the United Nations and the Red Cross as guarantors of these agreements on the Azovstal defenders. I support this statement. Now the guarantors have to react. You must protect the lives of hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.

The European Union has already condemned Russia for its “unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine and her people” and noted that the conflict “brings more horrific atrocities by the day”, but now specifically calls for an investigation into the bombing.

Both Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of being responsible for the bombing.

Other Abuses

Russia has also been implicated in other violations of international law, including the forcible displacement and resettlement of people, including children, from occupied Ukrainian territories. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova told Portal in June that she was investigating several investigations into forced transfers of people to Russia. “Since the first days of the war, we started this case for genocide,” Venediktova told Portal. She was unable to provide precise information on how many victims were transferred.

The US State Department estimates that between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, have been arrested and extradited to Russia, often to remote regions.

“Moscow’s actions appear premeditated and draw direct historical comparisons to Russian ‘filtration’ operations in Chechnya and other areas. President Putin’s ‘filtration’ operations are separating families, confiscating Ukrainian passports and issuing Russian passports in an apparent attempt to alter the demographic makeup of parts of Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken wrote in the statement. Reports also show that Russia is deliberately separating children from their families and putting children up for adoption.

Meanwhile, diplomacy in Africa and the Middle East dueled

As Russia loses face and becomes increasingly isolated from the West, the country is digging into other strategic partnerships.

Russia’s allies in the Middle East and Africa are feeling the pinch of Western countries, who expect them to distance themselves from Putin’s actions and stage an uncomfortable dance based on mutual necessity. Access to Russia’s grain exports and other food products remains a major pressure point for African and Middle Eastern countries. In East Africa, extreme drought and the Ukraine conflict are bringing countries to the brink, according to a United Nations report.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Cairo recently as part of his geostrategic Africa trip, where he spoke to organizations about Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. He said the West has been pushing Russia for an invasion after ignoring concerns about NATO expansion.

The US is taking a geopolitical step of its own by sending President Joe Biden’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, to Ghana and Secretary of State Blinken to several African countries in the coming weeks. The head of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, was also recently in Somalia and Kenya.

Hoping for the best but fearing the worst

International calls to prosecute Russia for its crimes continue to mount, and the European Union is urging action at The Hague.

“Perpetrators of war crimes and other serious injuries, as well as responsible government officials and military officials, will be held accountable,” the union said in a statement shortly after the Donetsk prison bombings. “The European Union actively supports all measures to ensure accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed during the Russian aggression in Ukraine.”

While it is technically possible for Putin and other members of the Russian government to be brought to justice, the chances of that happening are slim.

The International Criminal Court is known for prosecuting crimes against humanity, but is intended as a last resort when all other systems fail. ICC investigators are already working to collect evidence in Ukraine, and while they recognize the court’s jurisdiction, Russia does not, leaving the ICC only able to prosecute crimes committed by Russia within Ukraine’s borders.

Since Russia is not among the 123 countries that are members of the court, violations of international law committed within its borders cannot be prosecuted. This means that Ukrainians who have been tortured or injured in Russia cannot be helped through the court.

Putin and his officials could evade the problem of possible prosecution simply by staying in power and not leaving Russia’s borders or those of their allies. Since the ICC cannot try defendants who are not present at the trial itself in The Hague, and it has no mechanism to execute arrest warrants, it relies entirely on member countries to arrest and bring defendants to The Hague.

Ukraine has already prosecuted Russian soldiers, one of whom pleaded guilty to killing a civilian and was sentenced to 15 years in prison after an appeal. This may be Ukraine’s best course of action to seek some form of justice, irksome as it may be, given the monumental task of tracking down, arresting and bringing Russian soldiers to justice.