August 16, 2022

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Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said 95 soldiers from the Mariupol steel plant were captured by Russia in a prisoner exchange

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said 95 soldiers from the Mariupol steel plant were captured by Russia in a prisoner exchange
A hospital nurse pushes a wheelchair carrying a woman injured in a Russian missile attack on a shopping mall in Kremenchug, Ukraine, on June 28 (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has Publish a disturbing report Wednesday on the human rights situation in Ukraine in the context of the ongoing Russian invasion.

The United Nations has documented 10,000 civilian casualties since the conflict began on February 24, “of whom 4,731 were killed,” Matilda Bogner, head of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, told reporters in Kyiv while presenting the report’s findings.

She warned that the casualty figures were “significantly higher” because the report only highlights numbers that the mission was able to verify independently.

“The armed attack by the Russian Federation on Ukraine had a devastating impact on human rights across the country. We have documented violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including war crimes. These violations highlight the heavy toll that the conflict is taking day by day.

The report is based on information collected during 11 field visits, three visits to places of detention and 517 interviews with victims and witnesses between February 24 and May 15, 2022. The evidence is also drawn from court documents, official records and open sources.

The report documents violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law “to varying degrees on both sides,” according to Bogner.

“The large number of civilian casualties and the extent of destruction and damage to civilian infrastructure have raised significant concerns that attacks by the Russian armed forces do not comply with international humanitarian law. While on a much smaller scale, it also appears that the Ukrainian armed forces have not complied with humanitarian law,” Bogner added. international in the eastern parts of the country.

The report also raised “serious concerns” about allegations of torture of prisoners of war by both sides of the conflict, including the testimonies of 44 prisoners of war interviewed by the United Nations mission.

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Bogner stressed that the mission found evidence of the widespread use of extrajudicial punishment against alleged thieves, thieves and violators of the curfew in Ukraine.

“UNHCR has documented and verified allegations of unlawful killings, including summary executions of civilians in more than 30 settlements in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions, committed when these territories were under the control of the Russian armed forces. In Bucha alone (area Kyiv), UNHCR documented the unlawful killings, including summary executions, of at least 50 civilians, the report summarized, adding the full scale of the problem “has not yet been fully assessed”.

The UN document also made clear “concern about the arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance” of representatives of local authorities, journalists, civil society activists and other civilians by Russian forces and affiliated armed groups.

OHCHR documented 248 cases of arbitrary detention, six of which resulted in deaths.

The OHCHR report contains “reasonable grounds to believe” that the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces are using weapons equipped with cluster munitions, including Tochka-U missiles, which have resulted in civilian casualties. The use of such weapons in populated areas is contrary to international law.

Concluding the report, OHCHR recommended that all parties to the conflict “respect and ensure respect at all times and in all circumstances” for international human rights and humanitarian laws. The report also urged Russia to “immediately cease armed attack” and comply with its obligations under international law.

The Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine maintains a presence in Donetsk, Dnipro, Odessa and Uzhhorod.

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