Ukraine reports 15,000 suspected war crimes

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Ukraine reports 15,000 suspected war crimes

Around 15,000 suspected war crimes have been reported in Ukraine since the war began, with 200 to 300 more reported daily, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor has said.

Iryna Venediktova speaking to reporters in The Hague, Netherlands said some 600 suspects of Russian war crimes have been identified and 80 prosecutions have begun.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes calling the allegations fake but Iryna says the list of suspects includes “top military, politicians and propaganda agents of Russia”

Alleged war crimes include the possible forcible transfer of people – including cases of adults and children – to different parts of Russia, Ms Venediktova said.

Also, torture, the killing of civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure are also suspected war crimes, she added.

The International Criminal Court described Ukraine as a “crime scene” and has despatched its largest team of investigators ever to Ukraine to assist in the investigations. It said it was also hoping to open an office in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

Of the 15,000 alleged war crimes, Ms Veneditkova said several thousand had been identified in the eastern Donbas region where there is ongoing fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops.

Though investigations relating to the eastern region have started, Ukrainian authorities do not have access to Russian-held areas, she said.

Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia have also joined the investigation efforts, Ms Venediktova said. Poland and Lithuania were already helping.

“Investigations are very difficult when fighting is going on at the same time,” she is quoted as saying by German news agency DPA.

The announcements came as two Russian soldiers were jailed for 11 and a half years in Ukraine on Tuesday for shelling civilian areas. The first Russian soldier to be put on trial in Ukraine, Sgt Vadim Shishimarin, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a civilian last week.

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