Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, the Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (EUCCI) has regularly recorded cases of premeditated killings, attacks on the civilian population, sexual violence, threats to high-risk structures and facilities, and looting of property. This practice continued in the period from February 24, 2023 to May 31, 2023. Violations of international humanitarian law during this period are summarized in the new EUCCI digest.
- During this period, human rights activists continued to record cases of premeditated killings, extrajudicial executions and torture of civilians. In particular, new information about violations was recorded in the de-occupied territories of the Kharkiv, Kyiv and Chernihiv regions. For example, Ukrainian law-enforcement officers declared suspicion against the Russian lieutenant colonel with the call sign "Sailor", who led the military personnel of the "30th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Central District of the Russian Federation" during the occupation of the village of Piski-Radkivski (Kharkiv region). According to the investigation, the defendant ordered his subordinates to torture the civilian population, in particular, former participants of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO), in order to obtain data on pro-Ukrainian citizens and servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
- In addition to cases involving civilians, extrajudicial executions and torture of combatants have also been recorded. On March 6, a video of the extrajudicial execution of a prisoner of war, a serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was distributed on the Internet. At the beginning of the video, an unarmed man in a military uniform stands in a hole dug in the middle of a strip of forest, presumably under submachine gun fire. A male voice says in Russian, "Take a video of him". Then the Ukrainian military says the phrase "Glory to Ukraine!" and he is immediately shot with machine gun fire. On April 11, a video appeared on pro-Russian Telegram channels showing fighters decapitating a prisoner of war. The beheading lasts about 1.5 minutes and is accompanied by comments from another fighter who, in an excited state shouts in Russian: "We are working brothers!" Cut it off (...). Break the spine. Haven’t you ever cut off a head? (…)». At the end of the video, the killer shows the severed head to the camera.
- New reports of sexual violence were also received. The information concerned the previously occupied territories of the Kharkiv, Kherson and Kyiv regions.
- The regular practice of deliberate attacks on the civilian population and civilian objects continued. From February to May 2023, the entire territory of Ukraine was under the threat of missile and bomb attacks. Air-raid alarms were heard in all regions without exception. Municipalities near which active military operations continued, as well as those in the rear of Ukrainian troops, continued to be subjected to indiscriminate artillery, rocket and bomb attacks.
- Threat to high-risk structures and facilities. In February-May of 2023, the armed forces of the Russian Federation continued to threaten the safe operation of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. First of all, this applies to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), where the armed Russian military and heavy equipment continue to be stationed. On April 7, it became known that the night before, masked Russian soldiers broke into one of the premises of the Zaporizhzhya NPP and arrested four employees of the plant's physical security service. The people were taken to an unknown destination and their whereabouts remained unknown. At the same time, the IAEA regularly draws attention to the lack of maintenance personnel at the plant and the related threats to the safe operation of the nuclear facility.
- The trend of confiscation and looting of property by the occupation forces and occupation administrations (persons and organizations under their control) in the temporarily occupied territories did not change in February-May 2023. The range of types of property that became object of encroachment is, as before, is quite diverse: from domestic robbery of the local population (cars, cash, etc.), to seizure and looting of property of large enterprises in significant amounts (crops of farmers, goods and property complexes of Ukrainian enterprises, etc.). The new reports concern the Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions.
- In February-May 2023, the practice of arbitrary arrests by the military personnel of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, Rosgvardiya, FSB, etc. and detention of civilians of the occupied territories in places of illegal detention did change significantly. Illegal deprivation of liberty is still being carried out everywhere and is clearly part of a plan or policy against certain sections of the civilian population of the occupied territories.
- During the monitoring period there were also cases of imposition of Russian citizenship. For example, on April 27, 2023, V. Putin, with his next "migration" decree No. 307 approved the "specifics of the legal status" of residents of the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories who did not receive a Russian passport. From now on, from September 30, 2022 ("the date of admission of new entities to the Russian Federation" - occupied territories), in particular, citizens of Ukraine who on that date were living in the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia, as well as Ukrainian citizens who previously lived in these territories and left for the Russian Federation (presumably including those who were forcibly deported to Russia), will be considered foreigners. The imposition of Russian citizenship on the residents of the occupied territories de jure and de facto forces them to swear allegiance to the occupying state, which is prohibited by international law.
Read more about these and other recorded violations in Digest No. 12:
Previous digests of human rights violations are available here: