Czech president calls for war crimes tribunal over mass graves in Ukraine – EURACTIV.com

Czech president calls for war crimes tribunal over mass graves in Ukraine – EURACTIV.com

The EU presidency on Saturday (September 17) called for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal after new mass graves were discovered in Ukraine.

“In the 21st century, such attacks on civilians are unthinkable and abhorrent,” said Jan Lipavsky, foreign minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the European Union presidency.

“We must not lose sight of this. We stand for the punishment of all war criminals,” he added in a tweet.

“I call for the speedy establishment of a special international tribunal that will investigate the crime of aggression.”

The appeal follows the discovery by the Ukrainian authorities of about 450 graves outside the previously Russian-occupied city of Izyum, some of the exhumed bodies showed signs of torture.

Outrage: Ukraine found a mass grave under the liberated Izyum

Western leaders expressed disgust and outrage on Thursday (September 16) after Ukraine discovered a mass grave near the formerly Russian-occupied city of Izyum, and said almost all of the exhumed bodies bore signs of torture.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address that “new evidence of torture” had been obtained from the bodies buried there.

“More than 10 torture chambers have already been found in various liberated cities of the Kharkiv region,” he added, talking about the discovery of electric torture devices.

“This is what the Nazis did. This is what Russians do. And they will answer the same way – both on the battlefield and in the courtroom, ”he promised.

“Among the bodies exhumed today, 99 percent showed signs of violent death,” Oleg Sinegubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration, said on social networks.

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

“Probably 1,000 tortured and killed”

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the mass graves were likely further proof that Russia is committing war crimes against its pro-Western neighbor. French President Emmanuel Macron called the incident in Izyum an atrocity.

The Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Human Rights, Dmitry Lubinets, stated that “probably more than 1,000 citizens of Ukraine were tortured and killed in the liberated territories of the Kharkiv region.”

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

The gruesome discoveries came just over five months after the Russian army, driven out of Bucha near Kyiv, left behind hundreds of civilian corpses, many of which bore signs of torture and summary executions.

On Thursday, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said she wants Russian President Vladimir Putin to face the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Ukraine.

In Washington, US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin against the use of chemical or tactical nuclear weapons after heavy losses in the war in Ukraine.

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes aired Friday night.

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

“Pushing Them Back”

On the ground, Ukrainian forces have recaptured thousands of square kilometers in recent weeks with a counteroffensive in the northeast and are now threatening enemy positions in the south as fighting and bombing continues.

The Russians are “angry because our army is pushing them back in a counteroffensive,” said Svetlana Shpuk, a 42-year-old worker from Krivoy Rog, Zelensky’s hometown in the south, which was flooded after the dam collapsed. Russian missiles.

Sinegubov said that an 11-year-old girl had died as a result of a rocket attack in the area.

Pavlo Kirilenko, governor of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, which has been partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, reported on social media that on Saturday morning in Mykolaivka, “Russian occupiers fired on” a thermal power plant.

According to him, Ukrainian firefighters fought the fire, adding that there were interruptions in the supply of drinking water due to shelling from Russia.

“The occupiers are deliberately attacking the infrastructure in the area, trying to cause as much damage as possible, primarily to the civilian population,” he said.

He previously reported that over the past 24 hours, as a result of Russian fire, two civilians were killed and 11 injured.

Few people on the streets

At its daily briefing in Moscow, the Kremlin said it carried out “precision” strikes against Ukrainian positions in Mykolaiv and Kharkiv regions.

In the northeastern city of Kupyansk, recaptured last week by Ukrainian troops, clashes continued with the Russian army, which had settled on the eastern bank of the Oskil River.

Few of the residents went out into the street, where Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers were moving.

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

In the center of the town stood an abandoned, damaged police station, outside on the ground lay the tattered red banner of the Russian army.

The statement of the Ukrainian army says that “during the day, the enemy launched four missile strikes and 15 air strikes, as well as more than 20 salvo fires on civilian and military targets in Ukraine.”

In the relative calm of Kyiv on Saturday, hundreds of Ukrainians attended a farewell ceremony at the National Opera House for former ballet dancer and later teacher Oleksandr Shapoval. He was killed at the age of 47 in the east of the country during a battle with the Russians.

Shapoval was fired from mortars on September 12 near the city of Maiorsk in the Donetsk region.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has once again started drawing power from the national grid, the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Saturday after it was cut off from outside power, raising the risk of an accident.

The Russian-occupied plant, the largest in Europe, has been disconnected from the national grid since September due to shelling.

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