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.

Leaving Ukraine unable to defend its skies makes Russian invasion of other countries a question of time

Halya Coynash
Russia does indeed pose both an existential threat to Ukraine, and a threat to international security, yet the carnage and relentless attacks on critical infrastructure are made possible by the blocking of urgently needed military aid

Trypillia Thermal Power Plant destroyed by Russian bombs

Trypillia Thermal Power Plant destroyed by Russian bombs

Russia killed or injured at least 604 Ukrainian civilians in March 2024, an increase of 20% on the previous month. According to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, 57 children were killed or injured in March, with this double the figure from February. 

Judging by the relentless bombing underway every night, particularly, although not only, in Kharkiv oblast, it seems unlikely that April will be any better.  Moscow is watching with delight and sending more bombs as hardline Republicans block vitally needed US military aid to Ukraine and European countries talk about the threat from Russia yet do little to provide Ukraine with the means to defend its skies from the nightly onslaught.  The European Parliament’s delay on signing off the European Council and Council of Ministers' 2022 budget in order to force action on providing additional Patriot systems is appreciated but probably unlikely to have much effect, which US speaker Mike Johnson appears to care only about holding onto his post, with this threatened by Trump supporters, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, if he supports the aid for Ukraine.

The situation is grave and getting worse by the day. As Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba stated, Russia would not have been able to totally destroy the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant in Kyiv oblast during the night from 10-11 April 2024, had Ukraine had Patriot air defence systems. 

In memory of children killed in one of the many Russian strikes on civilian targets in Kharkiv oblast Photo Suspilne Kharkiv

In memory of children killed in one of the many Russian strikes on civilian targets in Kharkiv oblast Photo Suspilne Kharkiv

These were multiple missile attacks on a major thermal power station which supplied energy to three oblasts. They were, moreover, only part of one night’s attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure in five regions of the country, with extensive damage caused to two other stations in the west of the country.  Russia destroyed another power plant in Kharkiv oblast in March, one of 20 Ukrainian facilities which the Russians destroyed or damaged in “large-scale coordinated attacks on critical infrastructure” just in March.

Moscow has thus paid absolutely no heed to the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court at the Hague on 5 March 2024 against two Russian commanders over their role in Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure.  ICC clearly stated that such attacks on civilian targets are a war crime.  Both Sergei Ivanovich Kobylash, Commander of the Long-Range Aviation of the Aerospace Force, and Viktor Nikolayevich Sokolov, Commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, are also charged with a crime against humanity under Article 7 (1)(k) – namely inhumane acts targeting the civilian population and intentionally causing great suffering or injury.  All such individuals know that they will not be handed over to face trial, and the Kremlin is clearly concentrating efforts on both militarily destroying Ukraine, and swaying crucial players in the West to weaken support for Ukraine. 

The unending missile and drone attacks on Kharkiv and Kharkiv oblast over recent weeks have only highlighted the critical flaw in the argumentation of those western politicians, reportedly including US presidential candidate Donald Trump, calling for ‘peace negotiations’.  If the Washington Post’s sources are correct, then Trump’s supposed ‘peace solution’ is for Ukraine to give up Crimea and Donbas.  What exactly this means when parts of Donetsk oblast are not currently occupied is unclear.  Nor does such a ‘plan’ take into account the fact that Russia is now occupying parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts and claiming these oblasts to be ‘new Russian territory’. The unending attacks on Kharkiv and Odesa oblasts make it abundantly clear that Russia’s appetite for Ukrainian territory would only be stemmed for as long as it took to amass new military strength. 

Nor would it stop with Ukraine, if the latter were to be defeated.  This is clearly understood by UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenča who stated on 11 April that “the current trajectory of escalation of this war is a direct threat to regional stability and international security. Most of all, it is an existential threat to the people of Ukraine.

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