The United Nations has uncovered further evidence indicating Russia’s involvement in severe human rights violations in Ukraine, including acts of torture, sexual assault, and the wrongful deportation of minors.
The latest findings from the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine build on a previous report released in March detailing human rights breaches by Russian forces during the conflict. Russia consistently denies any wrongdoing, particularly the targeting of Ukrainian civilians.
The probe revealed instances of torture in Russian-operated detention centers in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. The techniques identified mirror those previously documented by the UN. Detainees, primarily men suspected of assisting Ukraine or relaying information, were severely tortured, and some succumbed to injuries.
Testimonies from survivors and witnesses unveiled Russian officials’ stark absence of humanity. The UN has chronicled episodes of rape executed through force or manipulation, accompanied frequently by violent acts such as beatings, asphyxiation, threats with firearms, and even murder. Intrusions into homes were common, with victims sharing accounts of sexual assaults under the threat of weaponry and threats to harm them or their families.
One particular case recounted the horrific ordeal of a 75-year-old woman who was brutally attacked and sexually violated by a Russian soldier in her residence.
The UN’s report emphasized, “Fresh evidence suggests that Russian forces have overstepped international human rights and humanitarian law, committing serious crimes in the regions of Ukraine they have seized.” Specific cities, such as Uman and Kherson, witnessed indiscriminate use of explosive weaponry by Russia, leading to casualties and significant destruction of civilian infrastructure. A notable incident in Uman resulted in the death of 24 individuals, predominantly women and children.
Moreover, the commission’s findings documented assaults impacting civilian structures, including residential areas, shopping centers, and a civilian storage facility, which led to numerous casualties.
The report detailed a harrowing assault on the elderly woman, mentioning severe injuries she sustained, including broken ribs and missing teeth. Such traumatic incidents have left survivors with deep psychological scars.
The commission also pointed out an incident in May where 31 children were transported from Ukraine to Russia, branding it an “illegal deportation” and a war crime. Moscow, however, negates these claims, asserting that these children were relocated for safety reasons, emphasizing their effort to unite them with their families in Russia.
Additionally, the report cited three instances where Ukrainian officials breached the human rights of individuals suspected of collaborating with Russia.
The UN expressed grave concern over the documented atrocities and their lasting impact on victims and communities. They urged both parties, Russia and Ukraine, to cease all war crimes and human rights violations immediately.