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Russia increases war crimes in Ukraine | War in Ukraine

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A child on the wreckage of a Russian tank in the town of Boucha, northwest of kyiv, scene of war crimes perpetrated by Russia according to the UN. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

More civilian deaths, tortured people, sexual violence, which amount to war crimes, but also the theft of countless cultural property: UN investigators draw up a new damning assessment of the war that Russia has been waging against Ukraine for more than two years.

The Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council has found new evidence that Russian authorities have violated international human rights, international humanitarian laws and committed corresponding war crimes, term of 16 new visits to Ukraine and interviews with 422 women and 394 men to establish the facts published Friday.

The Commission is concerned by the scale, persistence and seriousness of the violations and crimes it investigated, as well as their impact on victims and affected communities, insists the new report, which complements the investigations Commission's previous findings published last year.

It confirms its previous conclusions that the multiplicity of these attacks [in Ukraine] reflects the disdain on the part of the Russian armed forces for the damage that could be caused to civilians, investigators emphasize.

New evidence reinforces the Commission's previous findings that torture used by Russian authorities in Ukraine and the Russian Federation is widespread and systematic.

A quote from the Commission investigators' report x27;UN commission of inquiry established by the Human Rights Council

War in Ukraine

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War in Ukraine

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The new report describes, among other things, the horrific treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war in several detention centers in the Russian Federation.

The victims' accounts reveal brutal and relentless treatment, which inflicted intense pain and suffering on them during prolonged detention, with blatant disregard for human dignity, investigators write, noting the lasting physical and mental trauma suffered these victims suffer.

The report details the fate of a Ukrainian soldier who was arrested and tortured by Russian authorities in several detention centers .

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Russian troops on the move on Ukrainian territory (Archive photo)

He recounted his experience in the penal colony in the town of Donskoy, Tula region, where he was repeatedly tortured and left with broken bones and teeth and gangrene in an injured foot .

I lost all hope and will to live, the soldier said, adding that he attempted suicide , but that the attackers had beaten him again. After his release, the soldier was hospitalized 36 times, investigators explain.

The nature, pattern and methods used for torture suggest that there is a more clearly defined policy, one of the commissioners, Vrinda Grover, stressed at a press briefing in Geneva.

The report also documents rape and other sexual violence inflicted on women in circumstances that amount to torture, and the investigation found additional evidence of the illegal transfer of children to areas under Russian control.

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In Bucha, a man takes notes in front of the bodies of 58 civilians found after the departure of Russian troops in April 2022. (File photo)

For the first time, investigators also looked into the fate of cultural objects and archives in the occupied territories.

They more particularly investigated about the cities of Kherson and Odessa.

Russian authorities transferred cultural objects from the Kherson Regional Art Museum and provincial archives to Crimea, annexed in 2014 by Moscow.

According to estimates by the staff of the two institutions, more than 10,000 objects from the Museum and 70% of documents from the main building of the State Archives have been removed, the report notes.

Local authorities cited the need to protect these objects from destruction.

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The war did not spare Ukraine's heritage buildings. Artworks in Odessa's Transfiguration Cathedral were damaged by Russian strikes. (Archive photo)

For investigators, the authorities committed a war crime by appropriating Ukrainian property, in particular through through a law adopted in March 2023 which stipulates that these seized assets and archives now belong to Russia.

Concerning Odessa, the report details Russian bombings in late July 2023 that hit cultural or historical buildings, all located in the historic center of the city, including the Transfiguration Cathedral.

These attacks hit cultural property which benefits from special protection under international humanitarian law, notes the report.

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