In a “bone-cold morgue in eastern Ukraine,” a little girl lay on a metal gurney, “face turned to the side, eyes closed, blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail,” Louise Callaghan said in The times. She was wearing a shiny blue coat and the laces of her white sneakers were still neatly tied. She was 12 years old and killed nine hours earlier when a Russian missile suspected of carrying cluster munitions pierced a crowd of well over a thousand civilians at Kramatorsk railway station.
Mostly elderly, women and children, they had flocked to the station in response to official calls to evacuate the Donbass region ahead of an expected Russian advance. They had hoped to board a train safely; “Instead, they were slaughtered where they stood, bags in hand, tickets ready.”
Fifty-seven people were killed, according to local officials, and many others were seriously injured. Photographs taken immediately afterwards showed harrowing scenes: on a green bench lay the body of a little boy whose head had been blown off; part of a manicured woman’s hand at the station entrance; and everywhere the scattered belongings of people who had hastily packed up in a desperate attempt to avoid the horrors inflicted on civilians elsewhere in Ukraine.
Within minutes of this latest atrocity, the Kremlin’s propaganda machine went into action, the FT said: The station, Russian officials claimed, was being used as an armaments storage facility. When the extent of the civilian casualties became known, they changed tack and claimed that the Ukrainians had bombed their own people.
President of Ukraine Zelenskyy insisted that Russian “monsters” were behind the carnage and that it was intentional. They tried to kill as many people as possible “to sow fear and panic,” the local governor said. “The enemy knew this is a city, this is a crowd, this is a train station.”
When Ukraine’s “liberators” began withdrawing from Kyiv last week, they left behind “a landscape of atrocities,” according to The Economist. Ukrainian officials say they recovered more than 1,200 bodies from the Kyiv area.
Terror in Bucha
In Buka, many were bound hand or foot and most had gunshot wounds. The Economist was able to verify reports of an apparent summary execution: its journalists saw nine bodies outside a construction yard used as a Russian base; All of the victims had been shot in the head or chest, and at least two were handcuffed.
Images of decomposing bodies strewn on the streets of Bucha shocked the world last week, Shaun Walker told The Guardian; but “these war crimes are anything but an anomaly”. In the recaptured village of Staryi Bykiv, reports from residents “paint a picture of a thieving, violent and demoralized invading force unsure whether to liberate or crush the Ukrainians.”
A couple, Tamara and Petro Lysenko, both in their 60s, toured their home. Russian soldiers lived in it for weeks while huddled in a nearby basement. The Russians ate all her food, killed her livestock, stole her washing machine, computer and all of Petro’s clothes, destroyed the family cars and put Z symbols on her kitchen door. “It feels like they didn’t destroy my house, they destroyed my heart,” Tamara said. “Nevertheless, by the standards of the past month,” the Lysenkos had been lucky. Some of their neighbors were arrested at gunpoint, beaten and killed.
“Murder, torture and rape of civilian adults and children appears to have been widespread,” Ruth Deyermond said in Prospect. There is also evidence of large-scale looting. Beyond these crimes against individuals, there is a feeling that Ukrainian society itself is a target as homes, roads, schools, hospitals and cultural monuments are being destroyed.
War Crimes Investigation
After reprimands from several countries, the International Criminal Court has opened a war crimes investigation, Fraser Nelson said in The Spectator. However, the chances of Russian war criminals being brought to justice are slim. Russia (like the US) is not a member of the International Criminal Court, and Moscow is unlikely to extradite its own people. The UN-led International Court of Justice can rule against countries, “but any judgment must be enforced by the UN Security Council,” and as a permanent member, Russia could veto it.
Still, atrocities committed in Ukraine (including those allegedly committed by Ukrainian troops) must be investigated, the New York Times said. It will be expensive and time-consuming, but the process raises the possibility “that someone may someday be held accountable,” which in itself could act as a deterrent to future atrocities; In addition, for the benefit of their victims, we must create a verified record of crimes committed in Ukraine and fight against the Russian lies. “Posterity needs to know what really happened. Justice must be given a chance.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/europe/956445/evidence-russian-crimes-ukraine “A Landscape of Atrocities”: What is the Evidence of Russian Crimes in Ukraine?