‘Hundreds of civilians’ killed by Russia in opening weeks of invasion

Ukraine: Ammunition depot explosion rocks Kadiivka

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The United Nations has presented evidence of potential war crimes by Russian troops in the opening stages of the invasion including the “summary executions” of Ukrainian civilians. UN human rights chief Volker Turk has detailed 441 cases where civilians were directly killed by Russia’s military between February 24 to April 6.

Among those killed were 341 men, 72 women, 20 boys, and eight girls.

The killings are reported to have taken place across a wide area, in 102 villages and towns across the Kyiv, Chernigiv, and Sumy regions reports the Telegraph.

Mr Turk told the UN Council: “There are strong indications that the summary executions documented in the report may constitute the war crime of wilful killing.”

He added true figure was likely “considerably higher”.

This week Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine continue to knock out power around the country.

The Ukrainian president’s office has reported seven civilians were killed and a further 19 wounded in the latest salvo of missile and drone strikes. 

Elsewhere, the head of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, Pavlo Kyrylenko, reported Thursday that Russian strikes the previous day had killed two civilians and injured seven.

In Avdiivka, some 10 kilometers north of Donetsk, there were two airstrikes overnight Wednesday, and a residential area came under rocket fire Thursday morning.

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Periodic artillery fire in Vuhledar, located to the southwest of Donetsk, damaged three houses.

West of Donetsk, the city of Kurakhove and two villages came under fire, with one house damaged.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Ukraine are working with an international team of legal experts to gather evidence on Russian soldiers inflicting mass sexual violence on civilians.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied committing war crimes and rejected allegations of sexual violence by the Russian military but investigators in Ukraine report that the number of alleged war crimes is running into the tens of thousands.

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The Deputy head of Ukraine’s war crime unit for sexual violence, Anna Sosnovska told TimesRadio: “Everywhere where Russian soldiers were based they committed war crimes, they committed sexual violence and they tortured, they murdered.

“This is the main line I think, like a method of conducting war against Ukraine as a nationality.”

Serhii Doroshyn the Deputy head of the national police’s investigation department in Crimea claims officers have “personally interrogated approximately 70 people”.

He said: “It is inhumane treatment. Law and customs of war are not observed at all. None of the Conventions is observed either.”

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