With Russia’s retreat in Kherson, reports of abuses emerge

KYIV: Ukrainian police and United Nations investigators said on Tuesday they were looking into allegations of Russian abuse in Ukraine. Kherson during the eight-month occupation of the important southern city, including sites of torture and forced disappearances and detention.
The head of the monitoring mission of the United Nations human rights office in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, condemned a “catastrophic humanitarian situation” in the city.
From Kyiv, she said her teams are looking to go to Kherson to try to verify allegations of nearly 80 cases of forced disappearances and arbitrary detention that it has emerged in the area and “find understanding whether the actual scale is larger than what we have recorded is ready.”
Speaking at a United Nations press conference in Geneva via video, Bogner said several former Ukrainian prisoners of war have recounted a range of physical abuses, “including being stabbed, being shot with a gun. electrified, threatened with mock execution, hanged by hand or foot, and burned with a cigarette”.
Fighting continued elsewhere in Ukraine on Tuesday. The mayor of Kyiv said air strikes on the Ukrainian capital hit two residential buildings and that air defense units shot down other missiles.
Vitali Klitschko, said on her social media channel Telegram that medical staff and rescuers are being dispatched to the sites of the attack. The attacks followed the sound of air raid sirens in the capital and disrupted the relative calm since drone and missile attacks a few weeks ago.
The recapture of Kherson was one of Ukraine’s biggest successes during Russia’s nearly nine-month invasion and dealt another heavy blow to the Kremlin. However, much of eastern and southern Ukraine remains under Russian control and fighting continues.
Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday reported another civilian death, due to Russian shelling, in eastern Ukraine – adding to the heavy toll of the invasion with tens of thousands of people killed and wounded.
Reports of abuse came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday likened the recapture of Kherson to the Allied landings in France on D-Day in World War IIsays that both are turning points on the road to ultimate victory.
Speaking via video link to the G20 summit in Indonesia, Zelenskyy said Kherson’s liberation from eight months of Russian occupation was “reminiscent of many battles in the past, battles that became watersheds. in wars”.
“For example, D-Day — the Allied landing in Normandy. It was still not the final point in the battle against evil, but it determined the entire next course of events. This is exactly what we are feeling now,” he said.
The liberation of Kherson – the only provincial capital Moscow has captured – sparked days of celebration in Ukraine and allowed families to be reunited for the first time in months. But as winter approaches, the city’s remaining 80,000 residents have no heat, water or electricity, and lack food and medicine.
However, US President Joe Biden called it an “important victory” for Ukraine. Speaking on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, Biden added: “We will continue to provide the ability for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves.”
In his speech to the G-20, Zelenskyy called for the creation of a special court to try Russian military and political figures for the crimes of aggression against Ukraine, and for the establishment of an international mechanism to compensate often told Kyiv about wartime deaths and devastation.
Zelenskyy called the G-20 meeting a “G-19 summit”, following Kiev’s line that Russia should be excluded from the group.
“Everywhere, when we liberated our land, we saw one thing – Russia left behind torture chambers and mass burials. … How many mass graves in the territory are still under Russian control?” Zelenskyy asked bluntly.
Ukrainian authorities say they are finding signs of atrocities in Kherson, as well as in other liberated areas. The head of Ukraine’s National Police, Igor Klymenko, said on Tuesday that authorities would begin investigating reports from Kherson residents that Russian forces had set up at least three torture sites alleged in the now liberated parts of the wider Kherson region and “our people may have been detained and tortured there”.
“The demining is currently underway. Then I think, today, the investigative activities will begin,” he said on Ukrainian TV channel.
United Nations investigators also want to visit the city to verify allegations of nearly 80 disappearances and arbitrary detentions and “find out whether the actual scale is larger than what we have seen.” acknowledged or not,” said the head of the UN human rights watchdog. mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner.
She warned of a “catastrophic humanitarian situation” in Kherson.
Speaking via video from Kyiv, Bogner also provided an update on her office’s work on the handling of prisoners of war. Several former Ukrainian prisoners of war have recounted a range of physical abuses, “including being stabbed, being shot with a stun gun, threatened with mock execution, being hanged by hand or foot, and burned with a cigarette, ” she said.
She added that some people described being electrocuted to their genitals or being pulled by a rope around their body.
Zelenskyy made a triumphant surprise visit on Monday to Kherson. He hailed Russia’s withdrawal from the southern city as “the beginning of the end of the war”, but also acknowledged the high price Ukrainian soldiers were paying in their dense effort to push back. Russian aggression.


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