Monday, November 28, 2022

Reports of Russia’s abuses in Kherson emerge

Ukrainian police and U.N. investigators said Tuesday they were looking into alleged Russian abuses in Kherson during eight months of occupation of the key southern city, including torture sites and enforced disappearances and detentions.
The head of the U.N. human rights office’s monitoring mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, decried a “dire humanitarian situation” in the city. From Kyiv, she said her teams are looking to travel to Kherson to try to verify allegations of nearly 80 cases of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention it has turned up in the area and “understand whether the scale is in fact larger than what we have documented already.” Speaking to a U.N. briefing in Geneva by video, Bogner said some former Ukrainian prisoners of war had recounted an array of physical abuse, “including being stabbed, shot with a stun gun, threatened with mock executions, being hung by the hands or legs, and burned with cigarettes.”
The retaking of Kherson was one of Ukraine’s biggest successes in the nearly 9-month-old Russian invasion and dealt another stinging blow to the Kremlin. But large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine remain under Russian control and fighting continues. Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday reported another civilian death, from Russian shelling, in eastern Ukraine — adding to the invasion’s heavy toll of many tens of thousands killed and wounded.
The reports of abuse came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday likened the recapture of the Kherson to the Allied landings in France on D-Day in World War II, saying both were watersheds on the road to eventual victory.
Speaking via video link to a Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, Zelenskyy said Kherson’s liberation from eight months of Russian occupation was “reminiscent of many battles in the past, which became turning points in the wars.”
“It’s like, for example, D-Day — the landing of the Allies in Normandy. It was not yet a final point in the fight against evil, but it already determined the entire further course of events. This is exactly what we are feeling now,” he said.
The liberation of Kherson — the only provincial capital that Moscow had seized — has sparked days of celebration in Ukraine and allowed families to be reunited for the first time in months. But as winter approaches, the city’s remaining 80,000 residents are without heat, water or electricity, and short on food and medicine.

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