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EU presidency calls for international war crimes tribunal to prosecute Russian crimes in Ukraine

Forensic technicians dig a grave in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, eastern Ukraine, on September 16, 2022.

An international tribunal for Russian war crimes must be established after new mass graves were found in Ukraine earlier this week, the EU presidency declared.

“In the 21st century, such attacks on the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent,” said Jan Lipavsky, foreign minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

We must not overlook it. We advocate the punishment of all war criminals… I call for the speedy establishment of a special international tribunal that will prosecute the crime of aggression,’ he announced.

The appeal follows the discovery of around 450 graves on the outskirts of the recently liberated city of Izyum in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region.

Some of the exhumed bodies showed signs of torture and the authorities have discovered several buildings that appear to have been used as torture chambers by Russian soldiers and FSB agents.

“More than 10 torture chambers have already been found in various liberated cities and towns in the Kharkiv region,” Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky said last night, describing the discovery of electrical implements for torture.

That’s what the Nazis did. This is what Ruscists do. And they will be held accountable in the same way, both on the battlefield and in court,’ he promised.

It comes as an intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Moscow has stepped up its rocket attacks on civilian infrastructure as its troops flee the Kharkiv region.

Forensic technicians dig a grave in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, eastern Ukraine, on September 16, 2022.

Forensic technicians dig a grave in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, eastern Ukraine, on September 16, 2022.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky has called for a special international tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine. “In the 21st century, these types of attacks against the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent,” he said.

Flimsy wooden crosses are seen at a burial site in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, on September 17, 2022.

Flimsy wooden crosses are seen at a burial site in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, on September 17, 2022.

Zelensky paid a surprise visit to Izyum in the Kharkiv region after the city was recaptured and witnessed the devastation left behind by retreating Russian forces.

Zelensky paid a surprise visit to Izyum in the Kharkiv region after the city was recaptured and witnessed the devastation left behind by retreating Russian forces.

This picture taken on September 14, 2022 shows a destroyed Russian tank and armored personnel carriers outside Izyum, Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine.

This picture taken on September 14, 2022 shows a destroyed Russian tank and armored personnel carriers outside Izyum, Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine.

The head of the Kharkiv regional administration, Oleg Synegubov, said yesterday that “99 percent of the bodies that were exhumed showed signs of a violent death.”

“There are several bodies with their hands tied behind their backs, and one person is buried with a rope around his neck,” Synegubov told readers on the Telegram messaging app.

The human rights commissioner of the Ukrainian parliament, Dmytro Lubinets, said that “probably more than 1,000 Ukrainian citizens were tortured and killed in the liberated territories of the Kharkiv region”, although this figure has not yet been verified.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the mass graves likely provided further evidence that Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine, while French President Emmanuel Macron described what happened in Izyum as ” atrocities”.

The United Nations in Geneva has said it hopes to send a team to determine the circumstances of the deaths, as it did about five months ago after the Russian army, driven from Bucha near the capital Kyiv, left behind hundreds of dead civilians. . .

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EU chief Ursula von der Leyen confirmed earlier this week that she wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin to face the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense claimed in its latest intelligence update that Russia increased its rocket attacks on civilian infrastructure last week, likely in an attempt to undermine the morale of Ukrainian citizens and local governments, even as Putin’s forces withdraw from Kharkiv.

“Russia has launched several thousand long-range missiles against Ukraine since February 24, 2022. However, in the last seven days, Russia has increased its attacks against civilian infrastructure even where it is unlikely to perceive an immediate military effect,” it reads in the update.

“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely expanded the places it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government.”

However, President Putin denied that his forces had been defeated in eastern Ukraine and yesterday claimed that his troops were continuing to seize territory in Donbas while speaking at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan.

Pictured: A destroyed Russian MT-LB armored personnel carrier burning in a field outside Izyum

Pictured: A destroyed Russian MT-LB armored personnel carrier burning in a field outside Izyum

Vladimir Putin, speaking after a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, said his Donbas offensive is still “advancing” after recent humiliating defeats in the Kharkiv region.

‘Our offensive operation in the Donbas does not stop. They are advancing, not at a very fast pace, but gradually they are taking more and more territory,” Putin said, in what were his first comments since his army collapsed and fled from Ukraine’s Kharkiv region last weekend. .

On Friday, a smiling Putin warned of a “more serious” response if Ukrainian counterattacks continue to gain ground.

The Kyiv authorities have announced that they have launched an active counter-offensive operation. We will see how it goes and how it ends,” he said with a smile in the Uzbek capital of Samarkand.

In light of the threat, US President Biden has warned Putin to avoid using nuclear weapons as his forces are defeated in Ukraine or face “consequences”.

In a preview for Sunday’s 60 Minutes, interviewer Scott Pelley asked the president what words he would have for his Russian counterpart if he is considering using chemical or tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Biden responded: ‘Don’t do it. No. No. You will change the face of war like never before since World War II.’

When Pelley pressed the president for the US response should Putin cross the line, Biden declined to comment on a specific plan, saying only that the US would act if nuclear weapons were brought into play.

“It will be consistent,” Biden said. ‘[Russia] they will become more outcasts in the world than they have ever been.’

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