war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

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Russian invaders move to strip Ukrainians forced to flee occupied Berdiansk of their homes

Halya Coynash
Among the immensely cynical ploys that Russia is using is to demand that the owners of property in occupied Ukraine claim it to be 'Russian'

Berdiansk Russian invaders Photo posted by Slovo i Dilo

Berdiansk Russian invaders Photo posted by Slovo i Dilo

The Russian-installed occupation ‘authorities’ have taken another, immensely cynical, step towards stealing the property of Ukrainians forced to flee after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and seizure of parts of Zaporizhzhia oblast.

Berdiansk Today reports that the occupiers are to no longer recognize the power of attorney documents which Ukrainians drew up, authorizing relatives or friends to look after their property.  Such documents were needed to prevent the Russians claiming that the properties had been abandoned.

Now the occupiers have ‘decreed’ that no such documents drawn up by Ukrainian notaries, or even those made in Russian consulates, will be accepted.  This ‘decision’ was signed back in 2023 by Yevgeny Balytsky, a Ukrainian traitor installed by the Russians as ‘governor’ of the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia oblast.

In addition, any power of attorney, regardless of where it is drawn up, will now have to ‘state the country in which the property is located’.  This is, of course, a criminal  ruse aimed at preventing Ukrainians from affirming their right to their own homes while they remain under illegal Russian occupation.  Russia is claiming that such occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts have ‘become part of the Russian Federation’ and will certainly demand that the ‘country’ named is Russia.  Any such document, however, would be legally void if it repeats such a lie.  Unless Ukraine’s legislators adopt further amendments to legislation to cover such situations, which are hardly within a citizen’s control, any agreement to falsely write that the property is in Russia could fall under Ukraine’s laws about collaboration with the aggressor state.

Berdiansk Today notes that the only solution would be for a person to return to occupied territory in order to prove that the home is not abandoned, or to carry out any other measures.  This is by no means easy as no more than 10% of those trying to get to occupied Ukrainian territory via Russia are allowed through.  Many receive bans on the spot, often for several years.  Such bans are the lesser of the possible problems since Russia and its puppets on occupied territory have, since 2014, been abducting Ukrainians and concocting preposterous charges against them, in many cases applying savage forms of torture to extract ‘confesions’.  Leniye Umerova, for example, has been imprisoned since December 2022 when the young Crimean Tatar, living in Kyiv, tried to get to occupied Crimea to visit her father who had recently diagnosed with cancer.  Oleksandr Marchenko was seized back in 2018 and savagely tortured in occupied Donetsk oblast, before being illegally taken back across the border into Russia and sentenced to 10 years’ harsh-regime imprisonment.  These are just two of very many such cases since 2014, and Berdiansk Today is surely right in saying that the only way that Ukrainians can return their plundered property is to ensure that they Russians are driven from Ukrainian territory (by joining or, at least, helping, Ukraine’s Armed Forces to liberate Ukraine).

Russia has, in short, dropped any pretence in occupied Ukraine, nor is this only with respect to those who left after Russia’s invasion.  The occupation regime have openly threatened to ‘deport’ Ukrainians from their own homes, and own cities, for expressing pro-Ukrainian views, and to take people’s children from them if they do not take on Russian citizenship and send their sons and daughters to be indoctrinated in occupation ‘schools’. 

The supposed ‘inventory’ of property that the invaders have undertaken in occupied Mariupol is almost certainly also aimed at depriving Ukrainians of those homes that survived months of relentless Russian bombing and shelling.

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