Russia-Ukraine War Live Updates – The New York Times

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Ukrainian officials investigating accusations of atrocities committed by Russian forces have found evidence of a litany of war crimes in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, including torture, mass killings and the use of banned weapons, Ukraine’s prosecutor general said on Tuesday.

Speaking during a televised news conference in Irpin, which was one of the most fiercely contested battlefields in the early phase the war, the prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said 290 bodies had been recovered for forensic examination in the city.

She said her team had identified one Russian soldier who she said was responsible for torturing at least 10 people. The victims “had their phones confiscated,” and then they were “beaten on the ribs and legs, threatened with death, and denied food and water,” she said. She said the soldier had been helped by others who had not yet been identified.

Investigators have confirmed that Russia’s 64th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade had been in Irpin. That is the same unit whose members have been accused of kidnapping and torturing unarmed civilians in the nearby town of Bucha.

Prosecutors had also documented summary shootings and mass burials in seven locations, Ms. Venediktova said, as well as the use of numerous weapons banned under the Geneva Conventions, including antipersonnel mines and shells with arrow-shaped shrapnel.

When asked about mounting reports of Russian soldiers raping Ukrainians, Ms. Venediktova said she anticipated a “huge number” of cases would emerge but she did not disclose how many were being investigated. In the first two weeks of April, about 400 cases of sexual violence by Russian soldiers were reported to Ukraine’s ombudswoman for human rights.

“Victims are not ready to speak,” Ms. Venediktova said, adding that many survivors of the assaults remain in Russian-held territories and fear reprisals.

In the coming days, senior UN officials and investigators are expected to provide more resources to the authorities in Ukraine to help prosecute sex crimes. Pramila Patten, the top UN official for sexual violence in conflicts, said last week that six investigators would soon join an international monitoring team in Ukraine to document sex attacks as potential war crimes.

The influx of international support is feeding a wider push to verify reports of sex crimes and to train prosecutors in Ukraine to preserve evidence and protect traumatized victims during questioning.

The Kremlin has denied the accusations of war crimes and sexual violence and has dismissed images of apparent victims of atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha as staged. But as evidence has mounted that Russian forces purposely killed Ukrainian civilians without cause, world leaders have vowed to hold President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to account.

Ms. Venediktova accused Mr. Putin on Tuesday of being “the main criminal of the 21st century” and said that he should “absolutely” be prosecuted for war crimes committed by his soldiers.

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