Russia behind ‘widespread and systematic’ torture in Ukraine, says UN probe

Russia behind ‘widespread and systematic’ torture in Ukraine, says UN probe
Russia behind ‘widespread and systematic’ torture in Ukraine, says UN probe

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A funeral service employee looks at bodies of civilians, collected from streets and brought to a local cemetery, in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, April 6, 2022. — Reuters file pic

GENEVA, March 15 — Russia is continuing to commit serious rights violations and war crimes in Ukraine, including “systematic” torture and rape, United Nations investigators said on Friday.

Moscow has been waging war on Ukraine for more than two years and has recently made territorial gains on the battlefield.

The high-level Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the rights situation in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion, said that it had found fresh evidence of widespread abuses.

It also voiced concern about the continued use of explosive weapons in civilians areas, confirming “a pattern of disregard by Russian armed forces for possible harm to civilians”.


“The evidence shows that Russian authorities have committed violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law and corresponding war crimes,” COI chief Erik Mose told reporters.

“Further investigations are required to determine whether some of the situations identified may constitute crimes against humanity,” he added.

Confirming previous findings, the UN said that torture by Russian authorities has been “widespread and systematic” in both Ukraine and Russia.


The investigators said they compiled their latest report after speaking to more than 800 people during 16 separate visits to Ukraine.

The team found that Russia’s treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war was “horrific”.

“The report documents incidents of rape and other sexual violence committed against women in circumstances which also amount to torture.

“It also details incidents of torture with a sexualised dimension and threats of rape against male prisoners of war.”

Investigators also found “additional evidence” that Ukrainian children had been unlawfully transferred to areas under Russian control.

For the first time, the investigators looked into Russia’s looting of Ukrainian cultural objects and archive documents, in particular from the city of Kherson, which was first occupied by Russian forces in March 2022 before it was liberated around eight months later.

During the last weeks of occupation in October and November 2022, “Russian authorities transferred cultural objects from the Kherson Regional Art Museum and archival documents from the State Archives of Kherson province to” occupied Crimea.

“According to estimates of staff of both institutions, over 10,000 objects from the Museum and 70 per cent of the documents from the main building of the State Archive, were removed,” the report said.

The UN report described this cultural appropriation as a “war crime”. — AFP

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