The attack in Poland and the sinister history of Russian forces against civilian targets

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Moscow has been accused of using chemical weapons in Syria, shooting down commercial planes and committing massacres and torturing and raping hundreds of women in Ukraine, among other acts macabre

The attack in Poland and the sinister background by Russian forces against civilian targets

Place where the Russian missiles hit that killed two people in Poland (Credits: Twitter @JOStrumillo)

The recent attack with Russian missiles that hit Poland and left two people deaths is one more in a sinister chain of events against civilian targets in which Moscow has been involved in recent decades.

The Polish government announced Tuesday that it is investigating the explosion near its border with Ukraine in which two people died, and indicated that it is assessing whether it is necessary to consult its NATO partners regarding the existence of a threat to its territory.

For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that the Atlantic Alliance is “monitoring” the explosion, and stressed the importance of “establishing all the facts”.

According to what he said on his Twitter account, Stoltenberg spoke with Polish President Andrzej Duda “about the explosion in Poland” and offered his condolences for “the loss of life”.

“ NATO is monitoring the situation and the allies are consulting closely. It is important that all the facts are established”, added the secretary general of the Alliance.

The attack in Poland and the sinister history of Russian forces against civilian targets

A photograph taken on April 3 showed the scene at 144 Yablunska street, where the Russian forces executed a group of men. (Ghirda/Associated Press)

The horror in Bucha

In early April 2002, almost a month after Russia invaded Ukraine, around 410 bodies were recovered in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, located on the outskirts of the capital, kyiv.

The kyiv authorities denounced the massacre committed by the Russian army in that city in the north of the country, which was besieged and bombed for weeks and in which, when it was recovered by the country's troops, hundreds of corpses were found in its streets, most of them civilians.

According to information provided by the daily  Ukrayinska Pravda, which quotes Bucha's funeral services, “A total of between 330 and 340 bodies have been found in Bucha, but there are more,”, he said.

Later, the attorney general Ukrainian woman Iryna Venediktova said the bodies of 410 civilians had been recovered.

The Russians hunted down people on lists prepared by their intelligence services and went door-to-door to identify potential threats. Those who failed the filter, including volunteer fighters and civilians suspected of aiding Ukrainian troops, were  tortured and executed.

The attack in Poland and the sinister record of Russian forces against civilian targets

A woman walks past a building damaged by missile strikes, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the eastern Donbass region of Bakhmut, Ukraine November 1, 2022. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Russian soldiers rape women

The testimonies of hundreds of women who were raped by Russian soldiers during the invasion of Ukraine are chilling.

On this point, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, points out that the rapes and sexual assaults attributed to Russian forces in Ukraine clearly constitute “a military strategy” and a “deliberate tactic to dehumanize the victims.”.

“All the indications are there,” Patten said in an interview with AFP in Paris.

“When women and girls are kidnapped for days and raped, when boys and men begin to be raped, when we see a series of cases of mutilation of the genital organs, when we hear the testimonies of women talking about Russian soldiers equipped with Viagra, it is about clearly from a military strategy”, he details.

“And when the victims talk about what was said during the rapes, it is clear that it is a deliberate tactic to dehumanize the victims”, adds the 64-year-old British-Mauritian lawyer, special representative since 2017.

The attack in Poland and the sinister history of Russian forces against civilian targets

Chemical bomb used in Syria

The use of chemical weapons

In April 2018, at least 70 people, mostly women and children, died of suffocation in a chemical attack on the city of Douma, the last rebel stronghold on the outskirts of Damascus. The attack was blamed on Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, with the complicity of his ally Russia.

The Soviet Union was an advanced power in the use of all types of weapons of mass destruction, including chemicals, and Russia inherited this arsenal and the technology for its development.

When it signed the CWC treaty in 1993, the The country declared that it had 39,967 tons of chemical weapons, which by 2011 it said it had destroyed 57% of.

Its declared storage facilities are located in Gorny, Kambarka, Shchuchye, Maradykovsky  and Leonidovka.

Among the agents in possession are mustard gas, lewisite, sarin, soman, VX and Novichok.< /p>

On March 4, 2018, the Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned precisely with the Novichok, which caused a strong diplomatic crisis between Russia and the international community.

Skripal had worked in the Russian intelligence services and then became a double spy in the service of the United Kingdom. For this reason he was imprisoned in 2006 and then handed over to the British in 2010 in an agent exchange.

The Novichok had already been used to assassinate Russian banker Ivan Kiveldi and his secretary, Zara Ismailova, in 1995.

The attack in Poland and the sinister history of Russian forces against civilian targets

A Ukrainian woman in front of the rest of the commercial plane shot down by Russia in 2014 where 298 people died ( AFP)

The shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane

On July 17, 2014, a Russian missile shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.

That day, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 took off from Amsterdam Airport for Kuala Lumpur, where it was due to land at 06:10 (local time) with 283 passengers and 15 crew members that it carried in its fuselage. However, the plane never reached its destination. At 4:15 p.m. (CEST) contact was lost with the aircraft when it was flying over the vicinity of Donetsk, one of the regions of Ukraine with the greatest influence of pro-Russian separatists. At that moment, it was hit by a “Buk” surface-to-air missile.

“MH17 was shot down by a 9M38 Buk-launched missile brought from the territory of the Russian Federation and which, after the launch, was returned to the Russian Federation”, Wilbert Paulissen, head of the criminal investigations department of the Dutch national police, said at a press conference in September 2016.