War in Ukraine | The Ukrainian horror brought before the UN

Charred remains. Bodies of adults and children piled up or half buried. Dead men with wrists tied behind their backs.

Updated yesterday at 11:16 p.m.

Janie Gosselin

Janie Gosselin
The Press

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky concluded his address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday with a video of images identified by the towns they allegedly came from – Motyzhyn, Irpin, Dymerka, Boutcha. together, launching a plea to get the international community to move.

We are faced with a state that transforms the right of veto of the UN Security Council into a right to die, which undermines the entire global security architecture.

Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

Mr. Zelensky accused Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, of having committed war crimes and called for its exclusion from the Security Council.

The organization must look into reforms to ensure it fulfills its peacekeeping mission, he added.

A few days after the publication of photos of corpses strewing the streets of Boutcha, the Ukrainian president issued a warning: “this is only one of the examples” of the horrors committed on the territory.

Crucial phase

His remarks resonated with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said he feared “more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of war crimes” with the withdrawal of Russian troops from northern country.


PHOTO FRANÇOIS WALSCHAERTS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General

With the change in strategy that Russia appears to have adopted by moving its troops from northern Ukraine to concentrate them in the east and south of the country, the war is entering a “crucial phase”, he said. .

“The Russian army had to reduce its objectives, explains to The Press retired brigadier general and senior Harvard Kennedy School scholar Kevin Ryan. Initially, I think they wanted a quick victory, bringing down the government with little fighting. They saw that it didn’t work. Then they hoped to take Kyiv by force and bring down the government that way, and it didn’t work. So now they have new goals. »

The Russian military dispersed in the north, east and south of the country required a logistical effort, making the supply chain “very complex”, recalls Pierre Jolicoeur, full professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada.

Mariupol, martyred city

By focusing on the part of the country comprising Crimea annexed by Russia in 2014 and Donbass, controlled by pro-Russian separatists, Russia could hope for some form of victory in the territory, says retired Brigadier General Richard Giguère, expert in residence for defense issues at Université Laval.

What is trying to do [la Russie]and that’s why we hear a lot about the martyr city of Mariupol, it’s to establish this corridor between Russia, Donbass and Crimea.

Richard Giguère, expert in residence for defense issues at Université Laval

The specialist is not the only one to call Mariupol a “martyr city” – the besieged municipality is plunged into a humanitarian crisis. Some 120,000 inhabitants are still there, while the port city is 90% destroyed, according to its mayor.


PHOTO ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO, REUTERS

A pro-Russian tank parades through the streets of Mariupol, against a backdrop of heavily damaged buildings.

“The population of this locality, it does not have much left, notes Mr. Jolicoeur. There has been no running water for a month, no more food, no heating… I imagine that some are starting to starve. It is a dramatic situation and there would need to be an emergency evacuation. But due to the surrounding fighting and the blocking of roads and access points, there is no way to carry out such an evacuation. »

With troops refocusing on the region, civilians in Mariupol and other vulnerable towns are called upon to evacuate, but must do so on their own, in a particularly dangerous context – humanitarian corridors have already been attacked in recent years. weeks.

A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross, on its way to try to reach Mariupol and facilitate evacuations, was arrested on Monday by police from an area controlled by the Russians, only to be released on Tuesday.

Sanctions and investigations

The images of corpses in the streets of Boutcha shook the West and led to a new round of measures. Nearly 200 Russian diplomats were expelled from Europe in 48 hours. The Kremlin announced that this would “inevitably lead to retaliatory measures”, without giving further details.

The European Commission has also proposed to the 27 member countries of the European Union to stop buying Russian coal, which accounts for nearly half of imports of this type in Europe.

Swedish justice announced Tuesday the opening of a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes, by applying a principle which allows it to judge serious crimes committed in a third country. France also announced the opening of an investigation into war crimes allegedly suffered by French nationals in Ukraine. It will also provide financial and human resources to support on-site investigations.

Regardless of how the conflict progresses, it will take time to resolve this “crisis which has brought us back to scenarios that we thought were over,” said Mr. Giguère.

“Everything indicates that there are war crimes, crimes against humanity that have been committed,” he said. Whether those responsible for these crimes will be able to be brought before the courts remains to be seen, but it will not be settled easily and quickly. »

With Agence France-Presse

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