May 5, 2022 - World

Ukraine's prosecutor general: Russia has committed nearly 10,000 war crimes

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova speaking near a mass grave site in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 12.
Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova speaks near a mass grave site in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 12. Photo: Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Russia has committed at least 9,800 war crimes since the start of its unprovoked invasion, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova told the U.S. Helsinki Commission and shared in a Facebook post Thursday.

The big picture: Russian troops have deliberately bombed civilian infrastructure, killed and tortured Ukrainians in towns they occupied and used rape as a weapon in the first 70 days of the war, Venediktova said.

  • The Helsinki Commission is a U.S. government agency that monitors and promotes human rights, military security and economic cooperation in 57 countries in Europe, Eurasia and North America.

What they're saying: "The unblocking of Mariupol and the de-occupation of territories will open for us even more terrible cases to investigate," Venediktova said.

  • Russia's "deportation of our children to erase their identity and to educate Russians is a direct proof of the plan to destroy Ukraine," she said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in late April that Russia has evacuated more than 1 million people from Ukraine into Russia. Thousands were forcefully deported from their country against their will, Ukrainian officials have said, per Reuters.

  • Forcibly removing the civilian population of a specific ethnic or religious group from an area is considered a form of ethnic cleansing by the United Nations.
  • In its siege of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Russia has reduced large parts of the city — once home to more than 400,000 people — to ruins through indiscriminate bombing.
  • Satellite images recently published by Maxar and Planet Labs show that at least three mass grave sites have been dug in villages outside of Mariupol.

It's currently unknown how many Ukrainian civilians have been killed in Mariupol and countrywide throughout Russia's invasion because ongoing fighting has prevented monitoring organizations to collect an accurate count.

  • The United Nations Human Rights Council estimates that at least 3,280 civilians have been killed and 3,451 injured during the invasion, though it stressed that its estimates are likely lower than the actual figures.
  • Evidence published by the New York Times and CNN shows that Ukrainian civilians were killed by Russian troops while they occupied cities in northern Ukraine. That includes Bucha, where more than 300 people were found dead after Russia withdrew from the suburb of Kyiv at the end of March.

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