Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik talks calls for trials over war crimes
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The Russian invasion has in its first three months led to the deaths of thousands of people, devastated cities and towns and prompted a massive exodus of around six million Ukrainians. But it has also forced a whole generation to grow up with trauma, as accounts of torture and rape amount.
On Thursday, a four-man team of Ukrainian soldiers in Kremlin-occupied Kherson, of which Moscow took control in early March, said the female population in the region “simply disappear” and, in most cases, are not found again.
They told their more than 110,000 followers on Twitter: “It has come to the point that some women and girls delete pages from social media in order not to become the next victim.
“What follows is always rape, torture and death.
“Some girls and women deliberately do not use cosmetics and dress in old and ugly clothes not to attract Russian attention.”
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Posting on @CanadianUkrain1, they added: “Paedophilia also thrives. People are afraid to leave children unattended both on the street and in the yards.
“Girls are usually the victims, but boys are not exempt from being kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed by the Russians.
“Children as old as six MONTHS old are raped and killed. Children are raped in front of their parents, boys and girls alike.”
The harrowing accounts, which have not been independently verified, echo widespread reports from local media outlets.
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The Kyiv Post on Tuesday cited Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova as saying a psychological support helpline had logged sickening reports of sexual violence from people in Oleksandrivka, Kherson Oblast, within 24 hours.
These included accounts of Russian soldiers raping children.
The office of Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova says it has received reports of more than 10,000 alleged war crimes, with 622 suspects identified.
Kyiv authorities are moving fast and trying to carry out justice while the military conflict is ongoing.
Moscow denies committing war crimes in Ukraine.
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Kherson lies on the Dnipro River near the Black Sea, only about 60 miles from Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula seized and annexed by Russia in 2014.
When Russia captured it — at a time Ukraine was focused on defending the capital Kyiv — and partially occupied the neighbouring region of Zaporizhzhia, it sought to create a strategic land bridge to Crimea.
Earlier this month, Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the military administration Russia put in place to run Kherson in late April, made an official call for annexation.
He said in a televised briefing on May 11: “The city of Kherson is Russia; there will be no the KNR [Kherson People’s Republic] on the territory of the Kherson region, there will be no referendums.
“It will be a single decree based on the appeal of the leadership of the Kherson region to the president of the Russian Federation, and there will be a request to make [Kherson] into a full-fledged region of the Russian Federation.”
Speaking to Russian state media on Thursday, Denis Pushilin, leader of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, said authorities had introduced the Russian ruble and were in the process of implementing a new tax system in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
He also urged Moscow to accelerate its offensive in Donbas.
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