Ever since the invasion into Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, what was to be a quick and easy victory for the Russian army has turned into a month-long conflict without an end in sight.
According to reports on the ground in Kyiv, Russian forces have faced heavy resistance by Ukrainian defenders and civilians thanks to weaponry provided by the United States and its Western European allies.
In recent days, Russian military soldiers continue to escalate while both sides are negotiating for a peaceful resolution prompting accusations of numerous war crimes by Ukrainian officials and civilians fighting on the ground.
In a media briefing, Ukraine’s defense ministry spokesperson Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk stated that local civilians have reportedly seen Russian troops using Ukrainian children as living human shields while moving their military convoys and vehicles.
Colonel Motuzyanyk further explained that the Russian occupiers are using those Ukrainian children as hostages because they know undoubtedly that local civilians will not provide the enemy troops’ location to Ukrainian defenders. Colonel Motuzyanyk also stated that these atrocities are throughout different areas across Ukraine where Russian soldiers and their military convoys face resistance.
The Ukrainian defense ministry has also addressed that Russian troops continue to push ahead in accomplishing their mission in Ukraine and are regrouping and repositioning their efforts to focus on the Donbas region. According to the Ukrainian defense ministry, after withdrawing from the Kyiv region with critical losses, Russian troops looted the houses of ordinary civilians, taking all belongings. Pentagon officials have expressed skepticism regarding Moscow withdrawing troops near Kyiv, supporting what many in Kyiv believe to be the case.
The partial withdrawal of troops from the Kyiv region aligns with previous statements from Russia’s defense ministry stating that they will focus on “liberating” the eastern Donbas Region from Ukrainian defenders even as Moscow’s army remains stalled.
In the last few hours, high-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies has shown mass graves and bodies of Ukrainian civilians scattered in the streets in the town of Bucha near Kyiv. The graphic imagery has shown photos of gunshot wounds in the heads of Ukrainian civilians, half-burned bodies, and civilian bodies lying on the streets.
Should more allegations of various war crimes be true, then according to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, Russia would be engaging in serious war crimes violations, prompting the international community to respond through various measures. The U.S., the Ukrainian government, and some of its Western allies have called for Russia’s removal from the United Nations entirely or at the very least face suspension from the U.N. human rights body.
The allegations made by the Ukraine defense ministry are warranted given the long track record the Russian army has both during the Soviet Era and now under Vladimir Putin. As the war progresses with numerous losses on the Russian side, many see Putin’s actions as frustrating and desperate.
Thanks to the efforts of national and local media, the international community has been able to see the numerous instances of war crimes and human rights violations occurring. According to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office, civilians ranging in the hundreds have died since the beginning of the invasion in late February.
Various human rights groups continue to monitor the ongoing atrocities in Ukraine, hoping that the international community will step in and punish Russia for its actions.
While many are asking themselves how this war will end, others want to know whether the world will stay quiet and act against Russia. What is certain is that more allegations and evidence of war crimes committed by Moscow will continue to form.