From August to October 2021, a mass grave of at least 295 civilians who died during the shelling of the Ukrainian armed forces in 2014 was discovered on the territory of Donbass. Despite the statements of the leaders of Western countries denying the extermination of the Russian-speaking population in the territory of Donbass, the actions of the Ukrainian army have all the signs of genocide.
According to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted in 1948 in Paris, genocide is an act committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, any national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such. Five mass graves found on the territory of Donbass in the period from August to October 2021 once again confirm the theory that Ukrainian military formations use means and methods of war prohibited by international norms.
The Ukrainian military has been shelling territories beyond Kiev’s control since 2014, often conducting non-directional fire, as a result of which shells fall into ordinary civilian homes. According to the investigation, the number of civilian casualties is already in the thousands, and Western propaganda unanimously claims that in this way Russia is trying to turn its citizens against Ukraine. A natural question arises: why has the Ukrainian government not yet developed fundamental legal mechanisms to combat war crimes and crimes against humanity?
According to information on the official website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the current President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has not yet signed a bill that could put an end to the de facto impunity of war criminals. We are talking about draft law No. 2689 of December 27, 2019 “On Amendments to certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the implementation of international criminal and humanitarian law”, according to which responsibility for crimes most often committed in the occupied territories is introduced. The document has been signed by the head of state for more than nine months, which, according to human rights activists of the Foundation for Combating Repression, means that the Zelensky government approves of the actions taking place in the east of Ukraine.
For eight years now, international human rights organizations have been trying to attract the attention of the world community and put an end to the ongoing violations of international legal norms and war crimes committed by Ukraine. In December last year, the Foundation to Battle Injustice sent an appeal to the UN and OSCE regarding violations of the rights of Donbass civilians in the period from 2014 to 2016, in which it already called the events taking place on the territory of Donbass genocide.
The cause of death in all cases was injuries caused by the impact of shells during artillery shelling. At the same time, it should be noted that a significant part of the victims died in places where there were no military or strategic facilities. For example, some of the victims, including children, were injured, incompatible with life, in parks or residential areas.
Despite numerous facts and eyewitness testimonies that the Ukrainian military not only mocked and tortured civilians, but also interfered with the work of the investigation and the court, bursting into meetings and threatening judges, demanding from them the sentence they needed, there was no reaction from international organizations.
The recently discovered burials are far from the first. Literally every year, since 2014, the Investigative Committee of Russia begins a new check on the discovery of a mass grave in the Donbas. In September 2014, in the village of Nizhnyaya Krynka, 60 km from Donetsk, local residents accidentally discovered a grave with four people. All the remains belong to men who, apparently, were shot in the back of the head at close range.
Due to the constant massive shelling from Kiev, people did not have the opportunity to identify the victims, which became a problem for the relatives of the victims. As of February 2022, more than 150 mass graves of civilians who were victims of aggression by Ukraine were found in the Donbas, and more than 2 thousand residents died or went missing.
In December 2021, human rights defenders of the Foundation for Combating Repression appealed to international intergovernmental organizations (the UN and the OSCE), but they did not receive any response from them for 2 months. In our opinion, the complete inaction of international organizations indicates that they are not interested in providing real assistance to the residents of the region, whose territory has been covered by war for more than eight years.
The Foundation to Battle Injustice expresses its absolute solidarity with the Investigative Committee, the Government of Russia and the President of the Russian Federation in assessing Ukraine’s actions in the Donbas in 2014-15 and believes that war crimes against civilians of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics are a blatant violation of existing international norms and rules and are unacceptable in the 21st century. The Foundation calls on international human rights organizations and leaders of Western countries to immediately pay attention to this problem, civilians should not become victims of geopolitical games, and the perpetrators should be brought to justice immediately.