UN panel reports that Ukrainian children have been raped, tortured by Russian forces

Written by

The United Nations offered a chilling update Friday on an investigation that has opened into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine amid the country’s war with Russia.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry in Ukraine reported cases of rape, torture and illegal detention, according to published results to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights website.

“Investigating cases related to sexual and gender-based violence presents special challenges. The commission has found that some Russian Federation soldiers committed such crimes,” the panel wrote.

“These acts constituted various types of rights violations, including sexual violence, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment.”

The commission said it found that Russian forces forced family members to witness crimes committed against their loved ones. Those who experienced sexual or gender-based violence ranged in age from 4 to 82, according to the update.

“The Commission has documented cases where children have been raped, tortured and illegally confined,” the panel added.

The grim news comes after Ukraine has won several victories over the Russian military in recent weeks and has taken back land in the northeastern and southern regions of the country.

Among the recaptured territory was the city of Izyum, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s officials had unearthed a mass grave.

“We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to. Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izyum … Russia leaves death everywhere. And it must be held responsible for that,” Zelensky said last week.

Mass graves were also found in the Ukrainian town of Bucha earlier in the conflict, and there have been reports of Russian bombs hitting hospitals and other civilian buildings.

The UN commission was established in March due to allegations of war crimes committed in Ukraine. The group of three officials was assigned to investigate in the cities of Kiev, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.

The panel wrote in its update that there have also been a number of indiscriminate attacks carried out “without distinguishing between civilians and combatants.”

“This included some attacks with cluster munitions or multi-launch rocket systems and airstrikes in populated areas.”

The panel added that it was “struck” by the high number of executions in the areas it visited. Common signs of executions included gunshot wounds to the head, hands tied behind the back, and slit throats.

There have been two addressed incidents of “mistreatment” by Russian forces.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial call-up of the Russian military, leading to mass protests in the country. Hundreds of people have been arrested in connection with the protests.

About the author

Leave a Comment