- EWC Community
A New Report Brings Further Accusations Russia for Its Brutal Treatment of Civilians
By: Benjamin He
In the Russian-controlled southern parts of Ukraine, new reports have stated that Russian soldiers have tortured and beaten civilians there, something that could potentially amount to war crimes in the future.
“Russian forces have turned occupied areas of southern Ukraine into an abyss of fear and wild lawlessness,” said Yulia Gorbunova, senior Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Torture, inhumane treatment, as well as arbitrary detention and unlawful confinement of civilians, are among the apparent war crimes we have documented.”
These actions committed outside of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, have already lit up roars of anger from around the world. But a New York non-profit, the Human Rights Watch, recently submitted a report that turned heads in the direction of heavily Russian-dominated parts of southern Ukraine. However, the report didn’t link the attacks to the Ukrainian war.
Russian forces had already started pushing from Crimea starting in February. They had continued their march taking over territories lining the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Meanwhile, Mr. Vladimir Putin - the president of Russia - has dubbed the invasion a “special military operation” to rid the so-called Nazis hiding out in Ukraine, which, to the Russians paints the picture that this is a noble mission rather than an invasion.
In the report from the Human Rights Watch, 71 people in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions told of 42 cases of things like people disappearing after being detained. “People interviewed described being tortured, or witnessing torture, through prolonged beatings and in some cases electric shocks,” the report said, adding that injuries included severe burns; cuts; concussions; broken teeth; broken bones, including ribs; and broken blood vessels.
That brings us to a war law known as the Geneva Conventions, which allows opposing sides in an international conflict to hold combatants as prisoners of war. It also allows the internment of civilians if they are a serious and continuing threat to the current authority. But what is certainly not allowed is the use of torture or brutal treatment. Political leaders can be charged with war crimes for such things caused by their forces.
The report claimed that three members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Force were being held as prisoners of war and that two had died as a result of the torture bestowed upon them.
Already Russia’s brutal treatment of both soldiers and civilians alike has sparked anger in a multitude of places. But so has the invasion. The Kherson Province was the first to show large protest at the news of Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. People are fighting back. A series of bombings have been carried out on local Russian proxy leaders by insurgents and have helped Ukrainian troops trying to reclaim lost territory.
The New York Times
‘Abyss of Fear’: Report Accuses Russia of Further Abuses Against Civilians - The New York Times (nytimes.com)