January 27, 2023

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Mass murders in Ukraine – News from Mures, Targu Mures News

The Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, called for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal after the discovery of hundreds of bodies summarily buried in northeastern Ukraine.
The call comes after the discovery of around 450 graves on the outskirts of Izium, a town in northeastern Ukraine recaptured from the Russians last week, with some of the exhumed bodies showing signs of torture.

There is clear evidence of violence, mass murders, potential mass graves, bodies left on the streets with signs of ill-treatment, and attempts to cover them up in areas of Ukraine freed from the control of Russian forces, said the US ambassador in charge of justice international criminal, Beth Van Schaack.
“Unfortunately, what we see now, once areas are liberated from the control of Russian forces, is typical: clear evidence of interpersonal violence, mass murders, potential mass graves, attempts to cover up what happened, corpses left on the streets, with signs of ill-treatment”, said Beth Van Schaack at an online conference with journalists and representatives of NGOs from several European countries, stating that all these are evidence of war crimes.
“What is happening in Ukraine is extremely similar to what we have seen Russian forces do in other places where they have been deployed, such as Groznyi (Chechnya – no) and Aleppo (Syria – no). We see patterns of atrocities. Unfortunately, the world did not react strongly enough then, which in many ways gave Russia the green light to advance in Ukraine, and now we can see the consequences of this,” she added.
Beth Van Schaack pointed out that “Russian troops committed war crimes in almost all areas of Ukraine where they were deployed.”
She explained that first attacks “on civilians and elements of civil infrastructure” were documented.
“Many of the attacks were deliberate, disproportionate and indiscriminate (…) We saw attacks on commercial centers, railway stations, theaters, areas that are essential for the civilian population. A lot of information showed that there were no military targets nearby,” said the US representative, whose role is to advise the US secretary of state and State Department leadership on matters related to the prevention and response to atrocities, including crimes of war, crimes against humanity and genocide.
“Then, once journalists got access to places that had been occupied and controlled by Russian forces, we started to see violence of a different kind. For example, corpses on the ground of people who were executed with their hands behind their backs, corpses that showed signs of torture, terrible stories about sexual violence against women and girls, but also men and boys,” the American ambassador in charge of justice also stated international criminal.

The third type of violence

Beth Van Schaack stated that a third type of violence is now being observed, committed through the so-called “filter” camps and documented by the Conflict Monitor, an independent body, funded by the US State Department, tasked with documenting, verifying and sharing open source evidence of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
“A report a few weeks ago by Conflict Monitor highlighted one key thing, namely that much of the vast transnational infrastructure that has been created (by Russia – no) for ‘filtering’ operations has actually been installed before February 24, before the invasion was launched. It was clearly premeditated,” she said.
Beth Van Schaack explained that the purpose of these “filtering” centers seems to be to identify people who would oppose Russian hegemony in Ukraine and the annexation of Ukrainian territories, to detain them and subject them to ill-treatment.
“Some people subject to these filters are still in detention. Others have been released, but are often deported to Russia, far away from Ukraine. Some manage to get out and end up in Estonia, Latvia or other places, where they can meet journalists and tell their stories, which they also put on social media,” she added.

Forced to apply for Russian citizenship

“People have their biometric data and phones collected, they are often forced to apply for Russian citizenship, they are given Russian passports, they are separated from their children. The children are placed in orphanages or are given up for adoption (in Russia – no)”, she also declared.
“The numbers are quite shocking. It appears that over a million Ukrainian civilians, perhaps as many as 1.6 million, have been subjected to filtering operations. Of these, almost 260,000 were children. Many are separated from their parents”, said the American ambassador.
“In these detention centers, people are subjected to bad treatment. There are direct testimonies from people who passed through the filters and who heard terrible sounds of torture in the buildings that were in the same complexes where they were imprisoned. The Conflict Observatory has documented through satellite images what appears to be the creation of mass graves (…) We have credible information that Russia is trying to cover up abuses, especially abuses against detainees. It is a vast network. This is clearly war crimes. We know that deportations of civilian populations are a violation of the Geneva Convention, which enjoys universal ratification. Therefore, Russia is also bound by these rules”, she added.
Beth Van Schaack stated that all information gathered by the Conflict Monitor is available to prosecutors around the world and will be provided to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the International Criminal Court, which has opened an investigation.
“The international community has not been so united for many years around the imperative of justice and accountability,” she also declared.


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