West under pressure to act after reports of civilian executions in Russian-controlled Ukrainian cities – POLITICO

Amid reports of massacres and rapes of civilians in towns retaken by Russian forces, the West is under increasing pressure to step up its support for Ukraine.

While Russia concentrated its offensive in the east and south of the country, Ukrainian forces retaking villages and towns around Kyiv claimed numerous blatant human rights atrocities. Among their discoveries were dead women left naked in the streets and accordingly the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, raped.

“Russian soldiers did terrible things here” called First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova as she shared a picture of victims in the village of Motyzhyn who were spotted face down with their hands tied and shot in the back of the head. In the city of Bucha, Russians killed civilians both during its occupation and during its retreat, Dzhaparova added in a statement.

The NGO Human Rights Watch interviewed 10 Ukrainians who witnessed atrocities, including summary executions, in Bucha, about 30 kilometers northwest of Kyiv, and in the village of Staryi Bykiv in the Chernihiv region. The advocacy group presented a detailed billing his interviews.

“The cases we have documented amount to unspeakable, premeditated cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” said Hugh Williamson, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia director. “Rape, murder and other acts of violence against persons in the custody of Russian forces should be investigated as war crimes,” he said.

Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights, outlined a number of other cases. appeals for the international community to investigate by the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Britain’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, told Sky News on Sunday the reports were “appalling” and “devastating”. He said it was “absolutely right that all of this is properly documented” so that those responsible can be brought before international courts.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted that photos “Remember the mass killings by Soviet and Nazi regimes.” “This is not a battlefield, this is a crime scene,” she added. “Evidence must be collected, preserved for trials and the perpetrators brought to justice.”

Reports of this nature are increasing as Ukrainians retake villages and towns around the capital. Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of Russian offensives in the east and south of the country. This included renewed overnight bombing of the ancient and strategic port city of Odessa in the southwest, according to AFP. Moscow announced on Tuesday that it would shift its focus from Kyiv to the eastern Donbass region.

In an appeal to the West to step up efforts to help the country, Zelenskyy said in a speech on Sunday: “Unfortunately, Ukraine has not yet received enough modern western missile defense systems or aircraft. Did not receive what the partners could deliver. Could – and still can.”

European leaders have approved four rounds of sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine but remain divided on imposing an energy embargo on Moscow and have dismissed Kiev’s calls for a no-fly zone.

“Each Russian missile and bomb dropped adds only black color to the story that will describe everyone on whom the decision depended. [The decision of] whether to help Ukraine with modern weapons,” added Zelenskyy.

As Hungarians head to the polls on Sunday, the Ukrainian President called out Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for being “virtually the only one in Europe who openly supports Mr Putin”. Unlike the rest of Europe, “In Hungary we saw no effort to end the war. Why so?” he asked.

By contrast, he said he had “meaningful” talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during which the two agreed on a new package of “very, very concrete support”, including tightening sanctions on Russia. “Thank you Boris for the tour. Historical Guide. I am sure.”

During a visit to Kyiv on Friday, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola pledged to step up aid to Ukraine and spoke of “further reaching” sanctions against Russia. “We have already provided financial, military and humanitarian assistance – this will continue and increase,” she said.

Annabelle Dickson and Stuart Lau contributed reporting.

https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-russia-civilian-executions-war-massacre/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication West under pressure to act after reports of civilian executions in Russian-controlled Ukrainian cities - POLITICO

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