Russia Besieges Ukrainian Port Cities As Putin Is Accused Of Genocide
A war crimes investigation has begun after Vladimir Putin was accused of committing atrocities by bombing cities during his invasion of Ukraine.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation on Wednesday night after 39 countries denounced Russia for what were described as “heinous” attacks.
The move came as Ukraine’s capital Kyiv braced for a siege, its second-largest city Kharkiv was reeling from fresh strikes and control of the port city of Kherson was contested by the military. Russian.
According to the UN refugee agency, one million people have now fled Ukraine, making it the fastest refugee exodus this century.
UNHCR’s tally is more than 2% of Ukraine’s population on the move in less than a week. The World Bank counted the country’s population at 44 million at the end of 2020.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said work would start “immediately”, with his team already collecting evidence, after the coordinated dismissal freed him to get to work without needing judicial approval.
Mr Johnson has warned the Russian President that he ‘cannot commit these horrific acts with impunity’.
A second round of talks aimed at ending the fighting was expected on Thursday, but there was little hope of a breakthrough.
The strikes that damaged the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial in Kyiv and Kharkiv’s central square have caused revulsion, and Western allies fear this may signal a shift in Russian tactics towards indiscriminate targeting of urban areas .
Moscow’s international isolation was further manifested when the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to demand that it immediately withdraw its military from Ukraine, with 141 nations backing the motion and only five, including the alleged Belarusian co-aggressor, opposing it.
For the first time, the UK has explicitly charged Mr Putin with war crimes, with Downing Street saying ‘horrendous acts’ were happening almost hourly as population centers were targeted.
More than 2,000 civilians have died since the invasion began, Ukraine’s state emergency service said, although the figure has not been independently verified.
On Monday, Mr Khan said he planned to launch an investigation into the events in Ukraine “as soon as possible”, but the referral of the 39 countries, including Ireland, Germany and Spain, has left him allowed to launch “active investigations”.
They will search for possible war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed by anyone on the territory of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia reported its military casualties for the first time since the invasion began last week, saying nearly 500 of its troops were killed and nearly 1,600 injured.
Ukraine did not disclose its own military losses, but said more than 2,000 civilians had died, a claim that could not be independently verified.
As fighting unfolds on multiple fronts across the country, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Mariupol, a major port city on the Sea of Azov, was surrounded by Russian forces, while the status of a Another vital port, Kherson, a Black Sea shipbuilding city of 280,000, remained unclear.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces claimed to have taken full control of Kherson, making it the largest city to ever fall in the invasion.
But a senior US defense official disputed that.
“Our view is that Kherson is a highly contested city,” the official said.
But Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhaev said Russian soldiers were in the city and went to the city’s administrative building.
He said he had asked them not to shoot civilians and to allow teams to pick up bodies from the streets.
“I just asked them not to shoot people,” he said in a statement.
“We have no Ukrainian forces in the city, only civilians and people here who want to LIVE.”
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the attacks there had been relentless.
“We can’t even get the wounded out of the streets, houses and apartments today because the shelling doesn’t stop,” he said.
Last night Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that World War III would be “nuclear and destructive”.