Ukraine war

Russian army accused of war crimes in Kherson by Ukraine's Zelensky


Russian forces pulled out of Kherson last week. (Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russian soldiers of committing war crimes and murdering civilians in Kherson, portions of which were recaptured by Ukraine's army last week following Russia's withdrawal.

"Investigators have already compiled evidence of over 400 Russian war crimes," Mr. Zelenskyy announced in his nightly video address that the bodies of dead civilians and soldiers had been discovered.

"The Russian army left the same savagery it left behind in other regions of the country it invaded."

"We will locate and prosecute every murderer. Without question."

Russia denies that its troops deliberately target civilians.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, mass graves have been discovered in several locations throughout Ukraine, including the Kharkiv region and Bucha, near Kyiv, where bodies of tortured civilians were discovered.

The Ukrainian government has accused Russian forces of committing the offenses.

In October, a commission of the United Nations reported that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine and that Russian forces were responsible for the "vast majority" of human rights violations in the early weeks of the conflict.

Fleeing Russians leave mines behind

Friday, Ukrainian forces arrived in the heart of the southern Kherson region after Russia abandoned the only regional capital it had seized since Moscow's invasion began in February.

The withdrawal marked the third major Russian retreat of the war and the first surrender of such a large occupied city in the face of a significant Ukrainian counteroffensive that has retaken portions of the east and south.

Regional officials reported that utility companies in the Kherson region were working to restore critical infrastructure damaged and mined by fleeing Russian forces, with the majority of homes in the southern Ukrainian city still lacking electricity and water.

Approximately 70% of the greater Kherson region is still under Russian control.

Artillery exchanges reverberating over the city on Sunday failed to deter jubilant, flag-waving, bundled-up residents from gathering on Kherson's main square.

"We are happy now, but we all fear the bombing from the left bank," said 35-year-old Yana Smyrnova, referring to Russian guns on the east side of the Dnipro River, which borders the city.

Ms. Smyrnova stated that she and her friends had to bathe and flush their toilets with water from the river and that only a few residents were fortunate enough to have generators that powered pumps to draw water from wells.

As a security measure, the governor of the Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, announced that the authorities had decided to impose a curfew from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and prohibit people from leaving or entering the city.

"All critical infrastructure was mined by the enemy," Mr. Yanushevych told Ukrainian television.

He stated, "We are attempting to meet within a few days and then open the city."

Mr. Zelenskyy also cautioned the citizens of Chervony of the presence of Russian mines.

He reported that one sapper was killed and four others were injured while demining.

Local authorities reported that the majority of the city lacked electricity, water, food, and medical supplies.

Yuriy Sobolevskiy, first deputy chairman of the Kherson regional council, stated on Ukrainian television that the humanitarian situation remained "very difficult" even though authorities were working to restore essential services.

Trains to Kherson to resume soon

Officials have reported initial progress in the city's return to normalcy.

The adviser of Mr. Zelenskyy, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, stated that a mobile phone internet connection was already operational in the city center, and the head of the Ukrainian state railways stated that train service to Kherson was expected to resume this week.

Residents reported that the Russians gradually withdrew from the city over the past two weeks, but their final departure was not apparent until Thursday when the first Ukrainian troops entered Kherson.

Many interviewed residents stated that they tried to minimize contact with the Russians and that they knew individuals who were arrested and mistreated for expressing Ukrainian patriotism.

Such accounts were not immediately verifiable by Reuters.

Since the beginning of the war, Russia has denied any abuse or attack against civilians.

Ukraine retakes villages and towns along crucial front

Since the beginning of the week, the Ukrainian defense ministry has recaptured 179 settlements and 4,500 square kilometers (1,700 square miles) along the Dnipro River.

The general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces reported continued intense fighting along the eastern front in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Mr. Zelenskyy stated that missile and artillery strikes have occurred in Sumy, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk over the past 24 hours.

Publish : 2022-11-14 08:03:00

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