Zelensky says investigators document more than 400 Russian war crimes in Kherson

  • The war crimes came to light after the Russians ousted Zelensky
  • Kherson residents describe abuse by Russian forces
  • Demining and electricity restoration work is underway in Kherson
  • Fighting rages in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions

Kherson, Ukraine, Nov. 14 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accuses Russian soldiers of committing war crimes and killing civilians in Kherson.

“Investigators have already documented more than 400 Russian war crimes. The bodies of dead civilians and soldiers have been found,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Sunday.

“The Russian army left behind the same barbarism it did in other parts of the country it entered,” he said.

Reuters could not verify his allegations. Russia denies its forces deliberately target civilians.

Mass graves have been found across Ukraine since the invasion began on February 24, including civilian bodies showing evidence of torture in the Kharkiv region and Bucha near Kiev. Ukraine accuses Russian troops of committing crimes.

A United Nations commission said in October that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine and that Russian forces were responsible for “most” human rights abuses in the early weeks of the war. read more

Ukrainian troops arrived in the heart of the southern Kherson region on Friday after Russia abandoned the only regional capital it had captured since Moscow launched its invasion.

Villagers carrying flowers waited on the road to Kherson to welcome Ukrainian soldiers on Saturday to take control of the right bank of the Dnipro River. read more

It marks Moscow’s third major military retreat and the first to engage such a large occupied city in the face of a major Ukrainian counterattack using the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday that the U.S. will announce new sanctions on a transnational network of individuals and companies working to acquire military technology for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Yellen told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali that the sanctions would target 14 individuals and 28 companies, including financiers, but declined to provide details on their whereabouts. read more

Russia was able to purchase drones from Iran that were used to attack cities and power structures in Ukraine.

Gerson demining

On Sunday, echoing artillery exchanges over Kherson failed to discourage a throng of jubilant, flag-waving residents huddled against the cold in the city’s main square.

“We’re happy now, but we’re all afraid of the bombardment from the left bank,” said singer Yana Smirnova, 35, referring to Russian guns on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, which runs near the city.

The Southern Command of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Monday that Russian forces “continue to inflict fire damage on our troops and occupied settlements on the right bank of the Dnipro”.

Yaroslav Yanushevich, the governor of the Kherson region, said authorities have decided to enforce a curfew from 5pm to 8am, banning people from leaving or entering the city as a security measure.

“The enemy cut off all the critical infrastructure,” Yanushevich told Ukrainian television. “We’re meeting within a few days (and then) trying to open up the city,” he said.

In an online post, Yanushevych warned people of reports of humanitarian aid arriving in Kherson’s Freedom Square and urged people to leave the city center as demining operations continued there.

Zelensky warned the residents of Kherson about the presence of Russian mines. “I ask you not to forget that the situation in the Kherson region is very dangerous,” he said.

Russian withdrawal

Residents said the Russians had gradually withdrawn over the past two weeks, but their final departure only became clear on Thursday when Ukrainian troops entered Kherson.

“It’s a gradual thing,” said videographer Alexey Sandakov, 44. “First their special police went. Then the ordinary police and their administration. Then you start seeing fewer soldiers in the supermarkets and then their military vehicles running around.”

Several residents interviewed by Reuters said they tried to minimize their ties to the Russians and knew people who had been arrested and abused for showing any expression of Ukrainian patriotism.

Sandakov said Russian troops ransacked the homes of Ukrainian soldiers who fled the city before taking it over, and examined the bodies of young men passing through checkpoints to get tattoos of Ukrainian nationalist groups.

Russia has denied any abuses against civilians or attacks on civilians since the start of the war.

Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said 179 settlements and 4,500 square kilometers (1,700 square miles) along the Dnipro River had been recaptured since the start of the week.

General staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported that heavy fighting continued on the eastern front in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Zelensky said that in the past 24 hours, missile and artillery attacks had taken place in Sumy, Kharkiv, Zaporozhye, Luhansk and Donetsk.

“The battles in the Donetsk region are as intense as they were in previous days,” Zelensky said.

Reporting by David Ljjungren, Jonathan Lande, Gleb Garanich, Pavel Polityuk and Ron Popeski; Written by Michael Perry; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.