Russian Occupying Forces Accused of Starvation Tactics on Ukrainian Civilians

Russian Occupying Forces Accused of Starvation Tactics on Ukrainian Civilians

A team of international lawyers assisting Kyiv in investigating alleged war crimes have accused Russian occupying forces in Ukraine of using starvation tactics on civilians. The investigators focused on the city of Chernihiv, which was under siege for over two months before Russian troops were expelled from the northern Ukrainian city.

Starvation Tactics Used by Russian Occupying Forces

The report, which took six months to compile and was released on Thursday, details routine Russian strikes on concentrated areas where civilians gathered to receive humanitarian aid and food supplies. The lawyers and investigators found evidence that Russian forces targeted food lines, agricultural harvests, and water infrastructure. The tactics were described as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculated plan to terrorize, subjugate, and kill the Ukrainian people.

The report detailed an incident on the morning of March 16, 2022, outside a supermarket, which resulted in the deaths of at least 20 civilians. According to the report, about 90 people were waiting in line near the Soyuz grocery store when an explosive with a wide impact range was detonated. Soyuz was known as a place to collect bread deliveries if the store was closed. The lawyers identified heavy artillery weapon systems that could have been used in the Soyuz attack and found evidence that Russian drones were operating in the area and could have provided imagery to direct Russian fire.

Subsequent attacks occurred at nearby hospitals “substantially impacting power supplies and thus creating challenging circumstances to treat those injured or dying,” according to the report. The lawyers and investigators also found that infrastructure related to Chernihiv’s water supply was targeted by aerial bombing.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the investigators found that Russian forces prioritized stealing harvests and destroying agricultural machinery.

International Reaction and Denial

The Mobile Justice Team, a group of international lawyers and investigators supporting the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general in starvation crimes, is one component of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group, which is funded by the US State Department, European Union, and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.

The Kremlin has previously denied that its forces commit war crimes or deliberately target civilians and critical infrastructure. The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Catriona Murdoch, a lawyer and expert in starvation-related crimes, believes that the tactics used by Russian occupying forces on Ukrainian civilians constitute a violation of international humanitarian law. Murdoch, who leads the Mobile Justice Team, recently returned from Chernihiv and expressed confidence that the perpetrators could be identified.

The report by the international lawyers and investigators details the use of starvation tactics by Russian occupying forces on civilians in Ukraine. The report accuses Russian forces of targeting food lines, agricultural harvests, and water infrastructure. The tactics were described as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculated plan to terrorize, subjugate, and kill the Ukrainian people. The Kremlin has denied the allegations.

Politics

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