EU calls for war crimes court over new mass graves in Ukraine

The presidency of the European Union on Saturday called for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal after new mass graves were found in Ukraine.

“In the 21st century, such attacks against the civilian population are unimaginable and abhorrent,” said Jan Lebavsky, foreign minister of the Czech Republic which holds the rotating EU presidency.

We must not overlook it. He added in a message on Twitter.

I call for the speedy establishment of a special international tribunal to try the crime of aggression.

The call comes on the heels of the discovery by Ukrainian authorities of around 450 graves outside the formerly Russian-occupied city of Izyum, where most of the exhumed bodies showed signs of torture.

“Of the bodies exhumed today, 99 percent showed signs of violent death,” Oleg Senegubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration, said on social media.

He added, “There are several bodies with their hands tied behind their backs, and a person is buried with a rope around his neck.”

An AFP journalist at the scene saw at least one dead body with her hand tied to a rope.

– Murderers, executioners –

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the mass graves likely provided more evidence that Russia is committing war crimes in its pro-Western neighbour. French President Emmanuel Macron described what happened at Isium as atrocities.

“Maybe more than 1,000 Ukrainian citizens were tortured and killed in the liberated lands of the Kharkiv region,” said Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada.

The head of the Ukrainian National Police, Igor Klimenko, said that they have found multiple torture rooms in the town of Balaklya and elsewhere in Kharkiv since the Russians were expelled.

The United Nations in Geneva said it hoped to send a team to determine the circumstances of the deaths.

The shocking discoveries came a little more than five months after the Russian army was driven out of Bucha near the capital, Kyiv, and left behind hundreds of corpses of civilians, many bearing signs of torture and summary execution.

“The world should react to all of this,” Zelensky said in a video.

Russia at Izyum repeated what it did at Bucha. And now we are just beginning to find out the whole truth about what was happening in the Kharkiv region at that time. ”

– ‘Deeply shocked’ –

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Friday that the European Union was “extremely shocked” by the discovery by Ukrainian officials of mass graves in the retaken city of Izyum.

This inhumane behavior by the Russian forces, in complete disregard of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, must stop immediately.

European Union President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday that she wants Russian President Vladimir Putin to face the International Criminal Court over war crimes in Ukraine.

In Washington, US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, not to use chemical or tactical nuclear weapons in the wake of the heavy losses in his war in Ukraine.

No. No. No. No. No. Biden said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Friday night.

“It will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II,” Biden said.

– ‘Push them back’ –

On the ground, Ukrainian forces have regained control of thousands of square kilometers in recent weeks thanks to a counterattack in the northeast and are now threatening enemy positions in the south, with fighting and shelling continuing.

The Russians “are angry that our army is pushing them to retreat in its counterattack,” said Svetlana Shabok, a 42-year-old worker in the southern town of Kryvyi Rih, the city of Zelensky, which was flooded after the destruction of a dam. with Russian missiles.

The governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleg Senegubov, said that an 11-year-old girl was killed by rocket fire in the region.

Pavlo Kirilenko, the governor of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine that has been partly controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014, said on social media that a thermal power plant was “bombed by Russian invaders” on Saturday morning in Mykolaivka.

He said Ukrainian firefighters were battling the blaze, adding that the Russian bombing had led to a cut in drinking water.

He added that “the occupiers deliberately target the infrastructure in the area to try to inflict as much damage as possible, especially on the civilian population.”

He had earlier reported that two civilians had been killed and 11 wounded during the past 24 hours by Russian fire.

– Few people on the streets –

The Kremlin said at its daily briefing in Moscow that it had carried out “high-precision” strikes against Ukrainian positions in the Mykolaiv and Kharkiv regions.

In the northeastern town of Kubinsk, which Ukrainian forces recaptured last week, clashes continued with the Russian army stationed on the eastern side of the Oskil River.

Few residents took to the streets as Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers were on the move.

A column of smoke rose in the east of the city, where an ammunition depot was burning.

In the center of the small town, the damaged police station was deserted, and the red flag of the Russian army lay on the ground outside.

“The enemy carried out four missile strikes and 15 air strikes during the day, as well as more than 20 multiple missile launchers on civilian and military sites in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian military said in a statement.

In relative calm in Kyiv on Saturday, hundreds of Ukrainians attended a farewell party at the Kyiv National Opera for former ballerina and later teacher Oleksandr Shapoval. He was killed at the age of 47 in the east of the country while fighting the Russians.

Shapoval was wounded by mortar fire on September 12 near the town of Mayorsk in the Donetsk region.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear plant has started receiving power from the national grid again, the United Nations atomic energy agency said Saturday, after being cut off from external power, raising the risk of an accident.

The Russian-occupied station, the largest in Europe, had been cut off from the national grid since September due to the bombing.

by Emmanuel Press

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