Russia is the No. 1 terrorist country in the world. It could perhaps be more accurately described as an international criminal mafia organisation rather than a country. The Russian Federation illegally invaded Ukraine and has for the last 4 months been indiscriminately attacking civilians and their property throughout Ukraine in violation of all international law.
For more than four months, Ukraine has been subjected to missile, air and artillery strikes by the Russian army. Tens of thousands of civilians, including children, have been killed. In total, since February 24, more than 972 children have been hurt – 341 children were killed and more than 631 were wounded. More than 25,000 pieces of civilian infrastructure have been destroyed. Russian soldiers have occupied more than 20% of the country, and are terrorizing civilians in Kherson, Mariupol, Melitopol and other cities of Ukraine. And what they cannot loot, they try to destroy. All the time the Russian army has violated the norms of international humanitarian law governing the conduct of hostilities. More than 20 thousand war crimes committed by the Russian army are already being investigated in Ukraine.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has received a statement of claim in an interstate case against Russia over allegations of serious and massive human rights violations committed by Russia during its military operations in Ukraine since February 24. The ECHR also considers five interstate cases brought by Ukraine against Russia. In addition, about 8.5 thousand individual applications related to the events in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and the Sea of Azov have been filed with the Court.
Members of the UN Monitoring Mission that visited Ukraine confirmed that since February 24, there have been at least 300 unlawful killings, including executions of civilians in more than 30 settlements. These were towns and villages in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy regions, where killings took place at a time when these territories were under the control of the Russian Federation armed forces in late February and March.
The number of Ukrainians killed under Russian occupation may increase as new evidence emerges. In Bucha, Kyiv region alone, the monitoring mission documented at least 50 civilians killed by the Russian Armed Forces while the city was under their control. UN representatives also recorded, verified, and confirmed 23 cases of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, torture, forced public nudity, and threats of sexual violence. There are many more cases which could take many years to solve, because many people are ashamed to talk about it and simply hide the fact that they have been raped.
At least 248 cases of arbitrary detention of local authorities, journalists, civil society activists and other civilians have been confirmed. Among these cases, six confirmed victims are one woman and five men who were later found dead. Seventeen deaths of journalists, media workers and bloggers have been documented in the war, as well as another 14 cases of wounded journalists. Responsibility for these actions will be borne by the Russian armed forces and armed groups affiliated with them.
There were also confirmed cases of forced military conscription of men in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Forcing civilians to serve in the armed forces of a hostile party is a grave violation of international humanitarian law.
As of June 27, the UN confirmed the deaths of 4,731 people, and another 5,900 were wounded. In reality, the number of casualties is much higher, as these figures include only cases that the mission was able to accurately confirm. According to the National Police of Ukraine, more than 12,000 civilians were killed during Russia’s invasion, with more than 1,500 civilians killed in the Kyiv region alone. The shooting and rape of civilians in settlements in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv regions, under the control of the Russian occupiers was also recorded by Human Rights Watch. U.S. Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schuck has called the entire territory of Ukraine a “crime scene”.
Russia resorts to this military policy, which contradicts international law, rules and methods of warfare because it wants Ukrainians to be afraid to identify themselves as Ukrainian. In this way, they are trying to deny Ukrainian independence and identity. But these four months of war have shown that such actions are useless. Ukrainians are more determined than ever and are ready to fight for their country until complete victory over the invaders has been achieved.