Ukraine Updates: Mass Graves, Executed Civilians Uncovered as Russian Troops Retreat From Kyiv
German Foreign Minister accuses Russia of “war crimes” amid reports of mass grave, executions in Kyiv suburb.
As Russian troops retreat from the suburbs of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, evidence of atrocities committed by the invading forces have coming to light, media reports say.
Corpses of executed civilians and mass graves were found the town of Bucha, just 14 miles northwest of Kyiv. “An AFP news agency reporter in Bucha, near Kyiv, counted at least 20 bodies. At least one man had his hands tied,” The BBC reported Sunday.
The Reuters reported that “a mass grave at one church ground was still open, with hands and feet poking through the red clay heaped on top.” Nearly 300 civilians were buried in the shallow grave, Ukranian authorities said.
300 person mass grave. 5 dead bodies of naked women in the middle of the road. Looted houses. More bodies everywhere. Destroyed buildings. #Bucha #Irpin after #Russia retreats
— Lesia Vasylenko (@lesiavasylenko) April 2, 2022
“We found mass graves. We found people with their hands and with their legs tied up… and with shots, bullet holes, in the back of their head,” senior Ukrainian government spokesman, Sergey Nikiforov, said. “We found half-burned bodies as if somebody tried to hide their crimes but they didn’t have enough time to do it properly,” he added.
The Associated Press reported the alleged Russian war crimes in Bucha:
Associated Press journalists in Bucha, a suburb northwest of Kyiv, watched as Ukrainian soldiers backed by a column of tanks and other armored vehicles used cables to drag bodies off of a street from a distance. Locals said the dead — the AP counted at least six — were civilians killed without provocation by departing Russian soldiers.
“Those people were just walking and they shot them without any reason. Bang,” said a Bucha resident who declined to give his name citing safety reasons. “In the next neighborhood, Stekolka, it was even worse. They would shoot without asking any question.”
Ukraine and its Western allies reported mounting evidence of Russia withdrawing its forces from around Kyiv and building its troop strength in eastern Ukraine.
Europe Reacts of Russian Atrocities
Germany, Britain, and the European Union expressed shock over the gruesome discovery of the suspected Russian war crimes in the town on Bucha.
In a telephone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson spoke of “immense suffering being inflicted on civilians” by the Russian invasion.
“Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, accuses Russia of “war crimes” over dead civilians bound and dead left on the streets following Russia’s withdrawal from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha,” German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Sunday.
Germany and the EU threatened new sanctions in light of the latest revelations. “European Council chief Charles Michel on Sunday pledged further sanctions on Moscow as he condemned “atrocities” carried out by Russian forces in the town of Bucha near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv,” state-run TV channel France 24 reported.
Russia Intensifies Campaign in the East, South
As Russian troops retreat from northern Ukraine, Moscow has intensified its campaign in the east and along the country’s 1700-mile coastline. After the Russian ground offensive failed to take the capital, the Kremlin is eager to capture more territory in eastern Ukraine and cut off the country’s access to the sea.
The strategic Black Sea port city of Odesa and other Ukrainian coastal cities have come under renewed Russian fire, news reports on Sunday suggest.
The BBC reported the latest Russian escalation:
Following air strikes by Russian forces on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, we are now receiving reports of an attack on another port city, Mykolaiv.
Anton Herashchenko, an aide to Ukraine’s interior minister, said that local authorities had reported several rocket attacks on Mykolaiv, Reuters reports.
Russia’s military has been targeting Ukraine’s southern ports – including Odesa and Mykolaiv – in an apparent attempt to block Ukraine from the Black Sea and to create a land corridor from Russia to the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow took control of in 2014.
Russia-Ukraine Peace Treaty in Offing?
News reports suggest that after 38 days of fighting the Russian invasion may soon be coming to an end. The draft peace treaty is in an “advance stage,” Germany’s DW News reported Saturday. There are signs that Russia could be scaling back its operation, as its ground forces retreat from the north and it pushes to consolidate gains in the east of Ukraine.
Germany’s DW News noted citing Russian news agency Interfax:
Ukraine has reported that Russia has given indications that a draft peace treaty is at an advanced stage. Citing Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the agency [Interfax] reported that negotiations were at the point of direct consultations.
Arakhamia reportedly told Ukrainian television that Russia had accepted Ukraine’s overall stance, with the exception of its position on Crimea.
He said if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to meet Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the venue would most likely be in Turkey. Arakhamia said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called the two leaders on Friday and “seemed to confirm from his side that they are ready to arrange a meeting in the near future.”
Despite such optimistic claims, it is unlikely that Ukraine will be willing to accept Russia’s redrawing of its map, or Russian troops will be withdrawing from newly-occupied territories.
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I’m having trouble expressing sympathy. Something seems odd in the calls to “Stand with Ukraine” from people that foamed at the mouth over Trump.
It’s an attempt to appeal to patriotism and virtue signal from disingenuous leftists.
You can truly support human welfare and dignity abroad while not falling for their BS.
It’s not just leftists. It’s rightists (libertarians?), centrists (conservatives), too, or perhaps just leftists in rightist and centrist’s clothing. The disparate reaction to the Slavic Spring following others in the Spring series is, quite frankly, remarkable, but with diverse precedents. Eight years. Two years under the Zelensky regime.
Over eight years… 32 trimesters since the Biden/Maidan/Slavic Spring. Eight years that Ukrainians have been denied essential services. Eight years that a Kiev-aligned military and paramilitary axis has assaulted Ukrainians. Where is the attribution? Two years under Zelensky. And, of course, the Wuhan-style labs, redistributive change, human trafficking, and probably other illicit activities. Why feign a concern NOW (pun intended)?
Probably should discount the claim of atrocities. Russia isnt running the war in a manner that normally indicate atrocities. I am not picking sides , but it doesnt seem very likely to be true
Russia isn’t running the war in a manner that normally indicate atrocities? The stupidity of that sentence is breathtaking. Lobbing heavy artillery and rocket fire into city-centers is the very embodiment of ‘atrocities.’ Europe hasn’t seen this kind of indiscriminate bombardment of plainly civilian infrastructure on this kind of scale since the Blitz.
This says nothing about the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians that have been forcibly relocated TO CAMPS INSIDE RUSSIA.
You never served a day in uniform, did you?
“This says nothing about the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians that have been forcibly relocated TO CAMPS INSIDE RUSSIA.”
Maybe because they’re Nazis who have been committing atrocities against ethnic Russian Ukrainian civilians since 2014? (And HUNDREDS of thousands? Truly?)
TargaGTS must be getting daily SITREPs from theatre, otherwise he would be quite foolish to speculate (/sarc). As for the Ukrainians who have “forcibly” been relocated to Russian soil, think about it: those civilians have been offered the choice of walking hundreds of miles to the west (inside Ukraine), or take a bus to Russian soil (1 hour ride) where conditions are better and are most probably monitored. The fatuous statements made by many (including the author of this article as well as Ms. Chastain), which are wholly provided by Ukraine and U.S. propaganda sources is disgusting.
Sorry, “is disgusting” should read “are disgusting”.
I am not saying the story is true or that the story is fake.
Just that the story seems a little fishy & I would prefer to get better info before jumping to conclusions
Joe-Dallas, your position is fair.
There are a number of alternative viewpoints to the media narrative, some hard to find (and some hard to find credible). Here is a current post from a credible source to give you a taste of the European viewpoint outside of the MSM: https://meaninginhistory.substack.com/p/the-ukraine-conflict-a-french-perspective?s=r .
The bottom of the post has a summary of an interview with the head of the French Intelligence Service under Jacques Chirac, and his viewpoint. certainly carries some credibility in my opinion.
I’m not prepared to say this didn’t happen, but this is awfully reminiscent of the Taliban playbook in Syria. There, the Taliban committed atrocities (chemical weapon use against civilian targets) and spoon-fed news reports and staged photos to western media blaming it all on Assad and Russia.
We know Ukrainian forces (neo-Nazi Azov Battalion) tortured and murdered Russian soldiers being held as POWs. But nobody talks about those war crimes, do they? Zelensky shrugs it off with an almost “boys will be boys” attitude.
Neither side has clean hands in this conflict, and not all the blame belongs to the Russians.
In addition, a Ukrainian photojournalist went in later and filmed three of the Russian soldiers who were knee-capped, whose bodies were in the same location/position as in the original film, and burned (presumably by the Ukrainian “soldiers” who–apparently– tortured them).
I don’t think it’s fair to call Azov battalion “neo-nazis.” That implies they’re johny-come-latelies. In fact, they’re Original Gangsta Nazis. Their great-grandfathers murdered Poles and Jews, and volunteered to serve in the Waffen-SS. (Of course, Stalin starving their great-great grandparents might have something to do with it.)
No, nobody does talk about those war crimes. I’m interested in seeing the references please. (I’ve seen the ‘POWs shot in leg’ video, and the analysis that it does look to be genuine).
Whereas there are multiple photographs and videos of Ukrainian civilians dead with their hands tied and bullet holes in the back of their head. There are multiple reports from multiple places of rape. These are crimes with no military justification.
There are also many many instances of Russia targeting civilian infrastructure, including homes, and shooting civilian vehicles and civilians. Russia will claim military justification for those, but frankly I don’t believe them.
I am very prepared to say that this did happen.
“…I’m interested in seeing the references please…”
Followed by alleged instances of atrocities, without references.
Sorry, if you looked at my other replies I’ve provided evidence in those.
Rape: I only linked one report of rape, because I’m sorry, I don’t bookmark those.
Murder: I had to go to another site to get the links to photographs and videos of murdered civilians; that site has many other photographs and videos that I didn’t link. You’re welcome to go hunting for yourself.
Targeting civilian infrastructure has been referenced multiple times on this site, I didn’t think further references were required. Russians shooting civilians and murdering a child in a civilian car is in a video that the BBC has reported on, although I don’t think they showed the full unedited version. I’ll let you hunt for that yourself. There are other videos of civilians and civilian cars being shot at; I’m not here to gratify murder porn so I decided not to link what’s already in mainstream news.
So I can back up my statements. The person to whom I replied has not.
“Neither side has clean hands in this conflict, and not all the blame belongs to the Russians.”
Yeah, you’re correct. 85-90% on the Russians? Is that fair?
Do you have a factual basis to support that assumption?
I saw this exact comment further down and replied…
Somebody give me a language lesson. Why is it Kyiv instead of Kiev?
Ki-ev’ or Ki’-ev have been the usual in part because of Russian. Since the Maydan, Russian as a official language was removed with emphasis placed on Ukrainian language.
Ukrainians executed by Russian soldiers? Or Russian-sympathizers executed by Ukrainian soldiers?
Zelenskyy affirmed that. Two wars… Russia-Ukraine and Ukraine Civil War.
Far as I can tell, yes, and probably a third and fourth option as well.
Many of the bodies are decomposed too far to have died since Russia departed the area.
Would Russian sympathiser killers have had time to bury people in a mass grave? I’m not thinking this likely.
“Associated Press journalists in Bucha, a suburb northwest of Kyiv, watched as Ukrainian soldiers backed by a column of tanks and other armored vehicles used cables to drag bodies off of a street from a distance. Locals said the dead — the AP counted at least six — were civilians killed without provocation by departing Russian soldiers.”
Half the U.S. Army would be sitting in prison right now if that was all it took without further investigation.
First six is not what we usually mean when we say “mass grave” which tends to conjure up images ranging from the Rape of Nanjing to the Holocaust.
Second locals said without reason-did the Russians think they were some sort of unprotected class (i.e. spies?) if so what “evidence” did the Russians have and is that evidence enough to make them justified in the circumstances?
I think we need to avoid adopting a standard that would make the U.S. Army the most prosecuted institution in history. We have had plenty of incidents in the last 20 years that involved six dead civilians with locals placing all blame on the United States.
Not to mention the endless waves of Pakistani civilians killed for living in the wrong part of Pakistan by our drone strikes.
We killed more than six civilians on the way out of Afganistan in order to pretend to be striking the terrorists who killed our soldiers earlier.
If we aren’t going to call Mark Miley a war criminal for that how are we to call the Russians war criminals for this? The term “war crime” loses meaning if not backed by moral authority which has to have a consistent standard to exist.
You could all be assured more evidence will be brought up by both sides in this (or it will be forgotten…).
Now do “almost 300. ” Also from this post: “Nearly 300 civilians were buried in the shallow grave,” Ukranian authorities said.
This article from the Independent places the numbers killed by the United States significantly higher https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/911-civilian-casualties-iraq-afghanistan-b1912816.html
The AP says it counted 6 which is significant because that is what the AP could actually confirm. I know what Ukraine claims, I can assume Russia would claim zero and that it was Ukrainians if there are bodies.
When you remember nobody was ever held accountable for a helicopter gunship attacking the Kunduz hospital reports of alleged Russian war crimes and our obligation to immediately assume they are war crimes starts to look differently https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunduz_hospital_airstrike#Investigations
We need investigations that aren’t done by a participant in the conflict that aren’t being guided by a participant (which is why I found the number of people AP could actually confirm more important than what Ukraine claims).
Nothing in your original comment makes any sense at all. Who is going to send any Russians to prison over these alleged war crimes? Certainly not us or Europe or the West, so what are you getting all worked up over? Likewise, who is going to prosecute the U.S. military for anything?
Sorry, not a war-mongering neo-con, and as an only tangentially related aside, I no longer support/excuse our own military no matter what so even if you thought you had a point, you don’t. And Milley is a big reason why, along with Austin. Just look at the gigantic cluster in Afghanistan. He/They should have been fired immediately. When the military ditches the woke crap and touchy-feely lunacy and goes back to being a real military we can be proud of, sure, but until then, nope.
I up voted because I don’t find anything objectionable (even if I don’t agree with the response) and don’t see why you got downvoted.
I also don’t think you are the war mongering neo-con type.
1. Not all war crimes investigations need an arrest at the end. That would be ideal but I agree nobody is arresting Russian or American troops for war crimes even if they are guilty.
2. In the case of this reporting my concern is we don’t know exactly what happened, and should have an independent investigation.
3. We need a consistent standard on what constitutes a war crime, going forward and need to have a good explanation for why we aren’t enforcing that standard on ourselves if it is one that encompasses large amounts of American Military activity. I know you agree we need to start investigating ourselves, but the people in power very clearly disagree and in practice we won’t.
4. Don’t you want an investigation by parties not involved in the conflict to claims of war crimes? I’m hesitant to just believe what a government says about a conflict it is involved in.
Aw, thanks, Danny. I’m not concerned in the least with downvotes (though oddly I do appreciate upvotes). I say what I think, and if that’s not okay with some people, so be it.
You make some great points here, Danny. One thing that I find interesting is that the pro-Russia right seems to think they can see everything clearly through the very fog of war they claim hinders clarity for the pro-Ukranian side. Both sides are doing this, of course, but it’s very interesting to observe, don’t you think?
Look, I don’t have skin in this game (yet, Biden is working double time to get us sucked into another world war, though), but my take is pretty simple: Russia invaded Ukraine, they are the aggressors here, and as such, they are in the wrong on that basis alone.
I don’t care what Ukraine did or didn’t do; it’s no worse than NoKo or China or Russia itself in those regards. If Ukraine is f’d up (and it is), then let them sort it out themselves. You don’t roll an army in there to “free” them; it’s stupid and crazy, and it’s a major mistake by Putin. Whatever happens, he’s done.
As to all your investigation talk, please grow up. This isn’t a car-jacking in South Central, and there are no detectives on the case. No one is going to be prosecuted for war crimes here, no Russians, no Ukrainians, no Americans.
I don’t even understand the world in which you think that will happen or why you are getting your knickers in a twist here. There is no body that can or will “investigate” much less meaningfully “charge” Russians or Ukranians with war crimes. Or Americans. Who or what body do you imagine has that power? Seriously?
You seem to be drifting toward an unsettling vision of global government, with a body that “investigates” and “prosecutes” war crimes, Danny. I’m definitely not on board with that. We have the Geneva Convention, and we had the Nuremberg trials, but normalizing some kind of one world governmental order is just insane and, quite clearly, counter-conservative.
I’m sorry, I forget.. when did US forces last get away with executing people in the street with their hands tied behind their back? When did US forces last need to build a mass grave with around 300 bodies in it?
Also, why are you going on about ‘without further investigation’? You do realise that international bodies are heading to that area already to do independent investigations, and that the ICC will pursue charges if appropriate?
If you have evidence of US war crimes then report them. They’ll be investigated and prosecutions will follow. Mark Milley may be responsible for multiple crimes against the USA but I’ve seen and heard no credible evidence that he’s a war criminal.
Yes the US have killed six or more civilians in badly targeted air strikes, or as collateral damage to achieve a military objective. War sucks. We know this. That doesn’t make it a war crime, there is a difference, and Russia has a valid defence (against war crime accusations) for much of their destruction of Mariupol.
Right now they need to provide a defence of their murder and rape of civilians, and I’m not seeing one.
AP has been able to confirm 6 bodies it has seen.
Right now establishing that these press releases from the Ukrainian government is accurate is a lot more important that establishing innocence.
As far as war crimes we got away with, well they include https://www.statista.com/chart/25748/us-airstrikes-civilian-casulties/
If it is as Zelensky says why not have neutral investigations from non-participants?
We by the way are not in much of a position to be declaring automatic guilt on war crimes allegations.
I’ve linked video and photographic evidence on in this very discussion of more than six bodies. Your refusal to accept concrete evidence is pathetic.
So are your claims of US war crimes. Air strikes killing civilians is not necessarily a war crime. Provide some actual evidence.
You’re agitating like a paid Russian propagandist. I’m rebutting your nonsense for free.
Reading these comments, it saddens me how utterly demented (alleged) conservatives get when they are out of power.
Well, thankfully we have you here… to say absolutely nothing worthwhile.
Can we hire the Russians to wipe out DC? Just curious.
DC is doing a fine job on their own. No need for assistance.
I have some questions about any “peace treaty”.
1. How could such a treaty be completed without dealing with the question of reparations? Specifically, will Ukraine agree to a treaty in which they renounce a claim to reparations? And will Russia agree to a treaty in which Ukraine does not renounce any claim to reparations?
2. In light of Article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (invalidity of treaties entered into by force) would any such treaty be binding on Ukraine?
3. Would the ICC or UN be bound by such a treaty to immunize Russian leaders, military officials, soldiers and enablers from prosecution for war crimes/crimes against humanity?
Just a few of the many questions I have about this situation.
Let me help you
1: Treaties ( and agreements) are basically worthless from jump street because there is no enforcement of them without being in the position of overwhelming dominance to begin with which negates the need for a treaty in the first place.
2: Treaties are not “binding” for the reasons stated in 1 above.
3″ The ICC and UN have no authority anywhere to begin with.
1. Reparations are a political not a legal matter
2. If Ukraine concedes territory it isn’t getting it back.
3. The UN does not prosecute anything, and the ICC would not be bound by a treaty Ukraine and Russia enter into not to prosecute war crimes.
The mass graves reported at a count of 300 and execution of a number of bound prisoners, IMO, seems more like the sort of thing that occurs within a civil war or sectarian conflict where there is lingering resentment and long lasting hatred. We need more information before we simply attach guilt to any party. There are reports of similar acts by the Ukrainians.
For all we know this was not carried out by the Russiqn Army but by Ukrainians against victims who were sympathetic to Russia. It could have been Ethnic Russian Ukrainians who supported Russia who attacked their Ukrainian neighbors. This sort of thing occurred fairly often in Yugoslavia during the breakup; neighbors using strife as an excuse to kill each other over grievances both old and new.
I am always in 100% agreement we need an investigation that isn’t by one of the participants in the conflict.
“The mass graves reported at a count of 300 and execution of a number of bound prisoners, IMO, seems more like the sort of thing that occurs within a civil war or sectarian conflict where there is lingering resentment and long lasting hatred.”
Coming soon to a theater near you!!!
I’d be open to that as a possibility if I had heard that these atrocities had occurred in far eastern Ukraine. That they are happening NW of Kyiv implies to me that the probability of the victims having been Russian-speakers and Russian-sympathizers murdered by Azov is much lower.
There is a lot of fantasy “thinking” going on in this thread.
The Russians, and especially the Russian army and political leadership, are not nice people.
Russia invaded Ukraine, not vice versa.
The videos are all over the internet. The Russian army targets civilians, and engages in atrocities. Of which Buka is just the latest example.
You want to tell me the Ukrainian army and political leadership are not sterling either? That wouldn’t surprise me at all. But they are not anywhere as threatening to anyone as the Russians.
“You want to tell me the Ukrainian army and political leadership are not sterling either? That wouldn’t surprise me at all. But they are not anywhere “…as threatening to anyone as the Russians.”
You are correct. The Ukrainians are not threatening to the Biden family, the neocons, the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA & NSA, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Wall Street, Hollyweird, the LGBQTRSTUVWXYZ community, George Soros, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Disney…
Like I said, fantasy “thinking.”
They are, in fact, quite threatening to the ethnically-Russian citiens of Ukraine in the Donbass region. Azov was massacring these Ukranians long before Russia invaded.
‘Massacring’? Really? Where are the mass graves?
ny of the dead wore white armbands a symbol of people who supported the Russians. many of the dead wore white armbands. You can’t find many dead people with blue armbands a symbol of Ukrainian supoporters.
“But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. ”
Let’s not destroy our own monsters first.
Cough. Cough. Gulf of Tonkin.
Really, lets see videos in Buka of people wearing white armbands.
Brve search is your friend.
Correction Brave search.
Took me five minutes.
And it would take you two seconds to copy a link for us to view. You made the claim, so you should support it. Me, I read that, and just rolled my eyes. But others may be curious to read your source.
@Fuzzy Slippers Do your own damn homework.
As I said, I don’t believe what you wrote enough to bother looking into it, but most people offer links to information because it helps build their credibility and strengthen their point. You might want to look into that.
Sharing graphic links to dead people to counter misinformation.
I don’t see any armbands here: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FPSd5RMXsAoLdXy?format=jpg
I don’t see any armbands here: https://twitter.com/ViktoriiaUAH/status/1509985789404459011
By ‘ny’ I can only assume you messed up the copy-paste of your script, because your post reeks of propaganda. The evidence demonstrates this.
Putin said he wanted to eliminate Nazis from the Ukraine. Instead he sent them in, and they slaughtered civilians in cold blood. Sadly, with Russia being a near superpower, on the UN Security Council, and allied with Communist China, there’s pretty much no chance of folk being held accountable as they were at Nuremberg.
You are exactly right. Putin has also cemented Ukrainian nationalism forever. Everything has backfired on him. And he was winning right up until he decided to take too much. If he had stopped at Donbas and Crimea he would have gotten away with all of it.
What are you talking about? Nothing will happen to Russia and the world will go back to dealing with Russia as if nothing happened.
A lot has changed and the avalanche of bad things is starting. Everyone initially overplayed their hand, Ukraine… after year of bribery and corruption thought full military support by US and Europe was in the bag. Afghanistan should have tipped them off even if Libya didn’t. Russia thought a blitzkrieg was in the bag and totally dropped the ball. Outcome? Famine, political upheaval and the end of globalization as the system will fail as “just in time” world economies go to “end of time” shortfalls. Business can’t go back as that exit ramp is long gone. Russia is internally more prepared to survive than Ukraine and the EU. Germany open laughed at Trump when he warned them of their over dependance on Russia. Oops.. While the US could weather the storm better, the Left is about to unravel the fabric of life here with Weimar inflation, open borders, and energy starvation in order to save the dirt ball called Earth..
I think this is true, but only because Russia is retreating and signalling it’s ready to accept the Ukraine regions it could have taken in a day with the West raising an eyebrow and shooting off sternly worded letters. Thousands of lives, crippling sanctions, and the European renewed fervor for eliminating energy dependence on Russia later; Putin is like, oh, we just wanted these regions you would have given us anyway.
Make that “sad whimper”.
Paper tiger clean up in aisle three.
Ukrainian nationalism was already cemented forever, if Stalin couldn’t wipe it out nobody could.
Another link for the people here posting Russian propaganda:
Notice the use of the word ‘apparent’. That’s because they’ll be investigated. As they should. After all, it’s possible that despite the dead bodies, the videos, the photographs, the first-hand accounts, that the Russians were delicate benign saviours. Let’s investigate and find the truth.
No question that there have been war crimes committed. On balance the Russians likely have committed more but the Ukrainians have as well. That is particularly the case in the Donbas where there has been a low intensity conflict going on for years. In the east there are armed citizens some opposing and some supporting the invasion. Very messy. Investigation is going to be a challenge. All the normal problems of evidence gathering and separation of fact from fiction in witness accounts and hearsay testimony by people who are not neutral or disinterested.
Speaking of neutral which Nation can provide neutral investigators? The NATO members are supplying arms to Ukraine and other European Nations are in near lockstep in condemning Russia and imposing sanctions. Since there Nations make up the a large part of the various international bodies such as ICC those bodies are compromised. Who does that leave? Sweden and the Swiss both abandoned traditional neutrality and joined in condemnation and Sanctions.
Finding an independent investigator could be tough. I do actually trust the ICC to be impartial, but wouldn’t object to a combined investigation team that includes (e.g.) someone from India and South America.
I’m also keen that all potential war crimes are investigated, Russian, Ukrainian.. anybody else. Investigated and prosecuted.
Fair enough to me but convincing the belligerent parties and the factions backing or supporting them is another question.
First, I don’t recommend trusting the ICC but that’s from personal experience and I don’t have a link for it.
Since neither Russia nor the Ukraine are signatories or recognize the Rome statute as legal or binding, its doubtful anything they produce would go anywhere even if it was true.
Mexico, and India could both be good places to start the search.
Lets look at it critically ( and I’m taking no side, I am generally anti-Russian and have been there/done it investigating before under similar circumstances).
From the article you posted:
Kharkiv Rape- This is HIGHLY suspicious as there is ONE LONE SOLDIER allegedly doing all this. Nobody sends “one” soldier ( a death sentence in combat) into an unknown situation against potential superior numbers. Where was the rest of his unit and what were they doing? ( having a fish fry?)
That doesn’t even make walking around sense to anyone who has ever served in any military.
Summary Killings, Other Violence- There are numerous details missing here that make these claims highly suspect such as;
If everyone if closed in, who witnessed these acts?
Its also unlikely that the “evidence” would be left to be discovered in this modern age knowing it would go global in minutes.
Granted, this is an opinion (unwitnessed obviously) on an article that is hearsay but it sounds suspicious on the face
Just a few comments in general as the subject of “war crimes” alone is not universally understood or even defined anywhere on Earth and is beyond the scope of a post.
First, “war” itself is both a “crime” against humanity and an atrocity chocked full of human misery, suffering, cruelty, inhumanity, evil and all things bad.
I myself have seen it first hand and even in that theater back in the 90’s.
It started in WWII with the advent of imbedded reporters but “manipulating” the media has been a staple of war since them for various motives and agendas.
People throw words like war crimes, atrocities, massacres and the like around without fully realizing that in the Law of Warfare this is a highly complex thing with very few hard definitions and a lot of qualifiers and caveats.
All that to say that not every “thing” reported is a war crime by legal definition.( there is then the question of what “body’s” definition are we using and did the alleged perpetrator sign and agree to be held by this “law” but that’s a different story altogether)
I just caution everyone to be HIGHLY suspect and CRITICAL of every report coming out of this regardless of who reports it. “Truth” and then “law” are always the first casualty of war.
Not everything that is reported is real in the first place. (The press doesn’t hesitate to lie- all of them)
Then not every clump of bodies is “affirmative evidence” of a war crime. ( many are other things, false flags, photo ops, resistance or other mercenary actions)
Not every round on a “civilian” place is unlawful. ( there is a body of generally accepted law and criteria where it is justified to attack and destroy “civilian” targets with a list of “qualifiers” that are vague and nebulous)
All I am saying is don’t take any battlefield report at its face value ( regardless of who says it) and don’t jump to “legal” conclusions as it takes very in-depth neutral investigation to determine if a “war crime” actually happened.
Lastly, don’t substitute personal beliefs or even civilian “legal” definitions for acts committed in war as there is a separate set and definitions- to do so is merely propaganda and actually weakens one’s stance.
Basic references and further reading on this very long, complex and NOT universally settled subject can be found in:
FM 27-10 (Law of Land Warfare)
FM 6-27 (Commanders Handbook on TLOLW)
DOD Law of War Manual
TITLE 18 USC # 2441
Well stated and here are some comments to buttress your position. In any war ‘civilians’ are killed or injured or displaced. Obviously from that particular ‘civilian’ viewpoint all of these are bad outcomes but not every incidence of those is a war crime. In Iraq the US and it’s coalition partners routinely displaced civilians. We literally knocked on the door, gave the occupants ten minutes to gather a bag, threw them out in order to set up company size and battalion size outposts. Any resistance by the occupants was highly discouraged to put it mildly.
In the initial occupation phase there was light resistance, compared to the following years. We would be taken under fire from poorly conceived ambushes by a dozen or more people small arms. We returned fire with crew served weapons; .50 Cal and M240 usually resulting in a rapid surrender of those not killed in the initial response.
So far so good. Once the interim Iraqi govt was in power they began to release these prisoners on a wholesale basis. Not good, it became a sort of catch and release situation. If we looked at a graph of the number of enemy pow v number of enemy KIA from these engagements there is a very clear point at which those lines crossed corresponding to the change in the interim Iraqi govt being given the authority to make determinations on release of prisoners. Draw your own inference.
In many areas there were nighttime curfews enforced by classifying anyone violating it as an insurgent and targeting them. For many years in Iraq all traffic was required to pull over as coalition vehicles passed, those which failed to do so or approached with 100 meters were taken under fire. Likewise with pedestrians approaching gates, checkpoints or patrols, those that refused commands to stop were dealt with harshly due to risk of suicide bombers. Insurgents were strapping bombs on kids, women, the mentally handicapped, dogs, donkeys and sheep. They put IED in/on cars, trucks, trailers, carts, bicycles on anything that moved and many that didn’t.
The point here is that distasteful actions are required in war but not every distasteful action is a crime. Actions necessary to protect the security and safety of the force are not criminal actions, they are a necessary part of war. The folks beating their chests, talking tough and demanding more US involvement should keep these facts in mind. Sending our Sons and Daughters to fight should be the last resort.
Yeah I remember ( was one of the ones doing it in both AO’s actually)
I have legitimate suspicions and honestly hold the current opinion that these are false flags set up by the Ukraine for fostering sympathy and support.
I have personally seen (Bosnia) similar “executions” and even then it was factions doing it, not proper military.
People (civilians) don’t realize but in fast moving mechanized warfare ( which this is technically), those units don’t have the time or manpower to spare to capture/form up/dig mass graves/ physically bind/ precision shoot people.
In spite of what we see in WWII movies and clips, that is a manpower and labor intensive operation which serves no useful military purpose ( drain on resources) that few commanders in a fast paced operation could commit to.
A long term army of occupation may have to do this and would have the infrastructure and time but highly suspect in modern mobile warfare
Then in the camera age, I would need extensive documentation ( pre and post).
Its the lack of all the details that make me suspicious. Even in Afghanistan ( very austere compared to developed areas) we had locals with cell’s everywhere- I refuse to believe they don’t have them there either.
Agreed. The relative lack of photos and video documenting actual crimes seems odd in the cell phone age. Record it and transfer to a SIM card or storage device to present to the outside world isn’t a huge obstacle. Doing so is very much in the interest of Ukraine for propaganda value in gaining/maintaining public support and pressure on other Nations to continue the flow of arms and munitions.
No electricity to charge batteries? No sale. Car chargers exist and small solar chargers have been available for some time. The lack of info out of eastern Ukraine, other than that curated by the belligerent parties is odd, particularly in Marispol with lingering resentment from years of low intensity conflict.
Finally your point about people applying the Hollywood framework of how warfare is conducted v the very real limitation on time and manpower is spot on. A commander dispatching a unit with orders to round up and murder civilians while still engaged with a competent and motivated force equipped, in some respects, with better weapons? Not very likely. Far more likely to be the result of bands of feuding local militias seeking to use chaos and confusion to settle old grievances as happened in Yugoslavia.
Another thing “people” don’t realize regarding modern combat operations is the warfighter manpower and logistics and the scaling down of forces.
In former wars ( up to even the Gulf), we had tons of uniformed support people ( all in the military) performing all kinds of “stuff” so we had people to fill in and dedicate to all kinds of things.
Now there are more contractors filling support roles thus leaving the “warfighter” to only do his job. ( gives the “illusion” of reducing the size of a military but only by hiring civilians in those roles)
All armies and nations do this now.
Like in the WWII movies, we don’t have near the number of corps, army’s ( defined as a field army) like we did and those we have have been culled down to the warfighter and direct support only. Neither do the Russians.
Not to mention that I have yet to see or hear of ANY identifying or distinguishing units these people come from ( they have unit patches, crests and emblems just like we do and an order of battle)- who are these nameless faceless soldiers and what units are they from? (Even if their uniforms were sterile- the host units operating in the area are certainly known)
If they devoted and detached even 50 people from a unit to do all this stuff in a highly mobile operation, something else isn’t going to get done.
Even we knew who performed the Malmedy massacre by virtue of who was fighting in the area.
Its this lack of commonly available detail ( which will be there) that really pushes my suspicions on all these alleged accounts.
Yes indeed. The identity of the Russian units in various locations and timeframes must be known to the Ukrainians so why no accusations that a particular unit did x vs generic Russians?
‘People’ that haven’t heard a shot fired in anger and lack the perspective of just how difficult the reality of combat operations make performing even simple take difficult. Considering that’s a maxim of Clausewitz who’s work has been in print for nearly two hundred years we might expect that ‘people’ should at least have an academic basis for their statements.
I suspect that those of us who possesses both the firsthand experience and the theoretical or academic basis are being ignored.
” In Iraq the US and it’s coalition partners routinely displaced civilians. We literally knocked on the door, gave the occupants ten minutes to gather a bag, threw them out in order to set up company size and battalion size outposts. Any resistance by the occupants was highly discouraged to put it mildly.”
You’re describing precisely what the INS did to Elian Gonzales’ neighbors.
Third Amendment be damned.
I recall Zelensky and his band announced the distribution of thousands of rifles, grenades and other lethal materials to civiiians who I assume used them against the Russian army. Apparently, a few of them were killed while in action, which would not be war crime. Normally, guerillas are shot on the spot.
And people don’t realize that un-uniformed and otherwise “free” civilians who TAKE THOSE ARMS (and others who directly support them) are now called COMBATANTS ( legitimate military targets both as individuals and in their dwellings).
Also, they don’t lose that designation just because they threw the weapon away or didn’t bring it that particular day ( the Law says they have to renounce not just no longer participate)
Also, calling citizens to fight “can” be construed as conscription.
I point these things out to show that these words, accusations and claims are thrown around with implied meanings (mostly from WWII and Nam) that are often more sensationalized propaganda that factual accounts with virtually no verifiable information to properly vet their veracity and accuracy.
Then these accounts are simply taken as “fact”.
This is how things spin out of control.