In response to Zelensky, investigators are documenting greater than 400 Russian warfare crimes in Kherson

  • War crimes exposed after Russians withdraw Zelenskiy
  • Residents of Kherson report attacks by Russian forces
  • Demining of Kherson and restoration of power supply underway
  • Battle rampages in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk

KHERSON, Ukraine, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russian soldiers of committing war crimes and killing civilians in Kherson, parts of which were recaptured by the Ukrainian army last week after Russia left.

“Investigators have already documented more than 400 Russian war crimes. Bodies of dead civilians and soldiers were found,” said Zelenskyy in his nightly video address on Sunday.

“The Russian army left the same atrocity behind as in other regions of the country it invaded,” he said.

Reuters could not verify his claims. Russia denies that its troops intentionally target civilians.

Since the invasion began on February 24, mass graves have been found in several locations across Ukraine, including civilian bodies with evidence of torture discovered in the Kharkiv region and in Bucha near Kyiv. Ukraine has accused Russian troops of committing the crimes.

A United Nations commission said in October that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine and that Russian forces were responsible for the “vast majority” of human rights abuses in the first weeks of the war. Continue reading

Ukrainian troops arrived in the center of the southern Kherson region on Friday after Russia gave up the only regional capital it had captured since its invasion by Moscow began.

Villagers with flowers waited on the Kherson road to greet Ukrainian soldiers as they streamed in to secure control of the right bank of the Dnipro River on Saturday. Continue reading

This is Moscow’s third major retreat of the war and the first to abandon such a large occupied city in the face of a major Ukrainian counteroffensive using the US-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

The United States will on Monday announce fresh sanctions against a transnational network of individuals and companies who have been working to procure military technology for Russia’s war in Ukraine, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

Yellen told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali the sanctions would target 14 individuals and 28 organizations, including financial intermediaries, but declined to give details on where they are located. Continue reading

Russia managed to procure drones from Iran, which were used to attack cities and power infrastructure in Ukraine.

evacuation of Kherson

Artillery barrages that echoed over Kherson on Sunday couldn’t stop crowds of cheering, flag-waving residents huddled against the cold from gathering in the city’s main square.

“We are happy now, but we are all afraid of the bombing from the left bank,” said Yana Smyrnova, 35, a singer, referring to Russian gunfire on the east side of the Dnieper River, which runs near the city.

The Southern Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Monday that Russian forces “continue to inflict fire damage on our troops and occupied settlements on the right bank of the Dnieper”.

[1/17] A local resident hugs a Ukrainian soldier after Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson in central Kherson, Ukraine November 13, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

The governor of the Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, said the authorities decided to maintain a curfew from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. as a security measure, banning people from leaving or entering the city.

“The enemy has mined the entire critical infrastructure,” Yanushevich told Ukrainian television. “We’re trying to meet within a few days and (then) open up the city,” he said.

In an online post, Yanushevich warned people about reports of humanitarian aid arriving at Kherson’s Freedom Square and urged people to avoid the city center as demining operations would be taking place there.

Zelenskyi also warned residents of Kherson about the presence of Russian mines. “I ask you not to forget that the situation in the Kherson region remains very dangerous,” he said.

RUSSIAN RETREAT

Residents said the Russians had gradually withdrawn over the past two weeks, but their final retreat only became clear when the first Ukrainian troops entered Kherson on Thursday.

“It was a gradual thing,” said Alexii Sandakov, 44, a videographer. “First their special police went. Then the normal police and their administration. Then you saw fewer soldiers in the supermarkets and then their military vehicles drove away.”

Many residents polled by Reuters said they try to minimize their contact with the Russians and are aware of people who have been arrested and abused for showing any expression of Ukrainian patriotism.

Sandakov said Russian troops had looted the homes of Ukrainian soldiers who left the city before the takeover and were examining the bodies of young men passing through checkpoints for tattoos belonging to Ukrainian nationalist groups.

Russia has denied any assaults on civilians or attacks on civilians since the beginning of the war.

EASTERN UKRAINE

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it had recaptured 179 settlements and 4,500 square kilometers (1,700 sq mi) along the Dnipro River since the start of the week.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported fierce fighting on the Eastern Front in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

“The enemy does not stop shelling settlements and our units’ positions along the front line… It continues to hit critical infrastructure and civilian homes,” the General Staff said Monday.

It said Russian forces had fired four rocket attacks, 13 airstrikes and about 60 rocket salvo attacks in the past 24 hours.

In response, Ukrainian forces attacked Russian positions 16 times, destroying or damaging 10 areas containing personnel, weapons and military equipment, sources said.

Reuters could not verify the reports.

Reporting by David Ljjungren, Jonathan Landay, Gleb Garanich, Pavel Polityuk and Ron Popeski; writing by Michael Perry; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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