The OSCE released a thorough report on violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russia and its armed forces during the ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine.

For the first time in the history of the OSCE, the mechanism was invoked at the request of an unprecedented number of initiating countries – 46, including Ukraine – which testifies to the recognition by the international community of the extreme seriousness and scale of gross violations by Russia.

“The report’s findings make it clear that Russia’s violations are on a scale that the international community has not seen in Europe for decades, and that urgent action is needed to stop the aggressor state. It is fundamentally important that the report recognises the fact that the Russian Federation has occupied certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine since 2014,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated.

The diplomats see the OSCE Moscow Mechanism report as an important contribution to the international community’s efforts to prevent impunity and ensure justice by holding accountable all organisers and perpetrators of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations.

“We take into account the fact that Russia refused to cooperate with the expert mission, and we regard this as clear evidence of Russia’s full responsibility for its war of aggression against Ukraine and its consequences,” the Foreign Ministry stressed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine also draws attention to the Mission’s conclusion on the need for a serious international investigation into the executions of large numbers of civilians during Russia’s occupation of localities near Kyiv, including Bucha, testifying to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian troops.

The nearly 100-page report contains strong evidence of the vast number of atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine. In conclusion, it is noted that “The Mission found clear patterns of international humanitarian law violations by the Russian forces on many of the issues investigated. This concerns in particular their conduct of hostilities. It is not conceivable that so many civilians would have been killed and injured and so many civilian objects, including houses, hospitals, cultural property, schools, multi-story residential buildings, administrative buildings, penitentiary institutions, police stations, water stations and electricity systems would have been damaged or destroyed if Russia had respected its IHL obligations in terms of distinction, proportionality and precautions in conducting hostilities in Ukraine. The conduct of the siege of Mariupol is an extreme example.”

The information documented in the report may be used by national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have, or will have in the future, jurisdiction over Russia’s war crimes and its current leadership.

Natalia Tolub

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