Live Updates on the Russian-Ukrainian War – The New York Times

May 3, 2022, 5:01 p.m. ET

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Ukrainian officials investigating allegations of atrocities committed by Russian forces have found evidence of a litany of war crimes in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, including torture, massacres and the use of prohibited weapons, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine said on Tuesday.

Speaking during a televised press conference In Irpin, which was one of the most fiercely contested battlefields at the start of 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 a Russian soldier she believed was responsible for torturing at least 10 people. The victims “had their phones confiscated”, then they were “beaten on the ribs and legs, threatened with death and deprived of food and water”, she said. She said the soldier was helped by others who had not yet been identified.

Investigators confirmed that the Russian 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade was in Irpin. It is the same unit whose members have been accused of kidnapping and torturing unarmed civilians in the nearby town of Bucha.

Prosecutors also documented summary shootings and mass burials in seven locations, Ms. Venediktova said, as well as the use of numerous weapons prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, including landmines and shells with shrapnel in the shape of bullets. arrow.

Asked about growing reports of Russian soldiers raping Ukrainians, Ms Venediktova said she expected a “massive number” of cases to emerge, but she did not reveal how many were being investigated. During the first two weeks of April, approximately 400 cases of sexual violence by Russian soldiers were reported to the Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman.

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

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

The influx of international support is fueling a broader push to verify reports of sex crimes and to train Ukrainian prosecutors to preserve evidence and protect traumatized victims during interrogation.

The Kremlin has denied charges of war crimes and sexual violence and dismissed images of apparent victims of atrocities in the kyiv suburb of Bucha as staged. But as evidence mounts that Russian forces deliberately killed Ukrainian civilians without motive, world leaders have vowed to hold Russian President Vladimir V. Putin accountable.

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

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