The prosecutor’s office, together with the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Police, identified hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers who are in Ukraine. The involvement of these people in war crimes is currently being checked.

“There are appropriate databases that contain all identified Russians – service members, intelligence officers. Not all of them committed war crimes. This is also important to understand. Unfortunately, crossing the border by military personnel during an armed conflict is not a crime by international standards. And we are guided by these standards; the rule of law is important to us,” Yuriy Bielousov, Head of the Department for Combating Crimes Committed During Armed Conflict at the Prosecutor General’s Office, said in an interview.


There is also a category of “potential suspects,” he said. They are checked for involvement in the commission of war crimes, and there are tens of thousands of them.

According to Bielousov, as for the official suspects, there are 386 suspects in the category of those who committed war crimes.

“Out of these people, indictments against 225 people were sent to court, and of those sent to the court, we have 54 convicted. Fifteen of them are real, not in absentia. As a rule, these are low-ranking soldiers, privates or lower-ranking officers, because the generals do not fall into our hands during the battle, although they die here, fortunately for us,” he clarified.

Bielousov also noted that all prisoners of war went through a special system, a sort of screening.

“If we see that there are possible signs of involvement in war crimes, then we begin to dig deeper and find out. We find something hardly in all cases,” Bielousov said.

In the category of suspects for the crime of aggression, everyone goes through the procedure in absentia, he added.

“We are talking about the higher military and political leadership. We have 674 suspects in the main case of aggression. This is a so-called elitist crime. The suspects are people who hold very high positions. We have 312 cases in courts under this category and 20 verdicts. The verdicts are against the members of the State Duma of the Russian Federation,” he said.

Bielousov emphasised that Ukraine itself investigated and would bring to justice the guilty in 99% of criminal cases. Our international partners will help with only about 1% of cases.

Bohdan Marusyak

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