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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Zelensky Accuses Russia of War Crimes against Humanity in Kherson

The retreating Russians obliterated key infrastructure related to civilian safety

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UKRAINE: Following a night of jubilant celebration over the liberation of their city by Ukrainian troops from the Russian forces, Kherson residents on Sunday began to assess the degree of damage caused by nearly eight long months of Russian occupation, which had clearly debilitated the state of water, power, and energy in the region.

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian soldiers of war crimes and killing civilians in Kherson, urging the international security forums to hold the Kremlin responsible for its actions.

“Investigators have already documented more than 400 Russian war crimes.” Bodies of civilians and servicemen have been found. “The Russian army left behind the same savagery it did in other regions of the country it entered,” he said.

Moreover, he revealed that Russian troops had destroyed key infrastructural facilities in the region before retreating, while the Kherson mayor noted the ground reality was “severe” due to a lack of bread and medical supplies.

Other booby traps like mines, tripwires, and unexploded bomb shells were left abandoned on the streets.

An adviser to the city’s local administration, Roman Golovnya, said: “Russian occupying forces and collaborators did everything possible to make those people who remained in the city suffer as much as possible during these days, weeks, and months of waiting.”

The retreating Russians obliterated key infrastructure related to civilian safety, including communications, electricity, water, heat, a 100-metre-tall TV tower, and at least four bridges.

Moreover, the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River is currently under investigation by the Ukrainian authorities, which the Russians tried to blow up during their withdrawal. Satellite images show signs of destruction, “with sections of the dam and sluice gates destroyed.”

With a water volume of 18.2 cubic kilometres, if the integrity of the dam is threatened, it could lead to a huge flood affecting most of the Kherson region, including the city itself.

Russian troops have also been accused of rampant looting in the city, from pillaging private cars, washing machines, microwaves, and clothes to vanishing 15,000 artefacts from the Kherson art museum, including the skeletal remains of Catherine the Great’s friend and lover, Grigory Potemkin, from a crypt in the city’s cathedral.

Wildlife was stolen from the sanctuary and zoo, which included llamas, donkeys, wolves, racoons, and squirrels, and packed and shipped off to Crimea.

“The zoo’s racoon was stolen not by some stupid soldier but by the Russian command,” said Oleksandr Todorchuk, the head of UAnimals, which rescues animals in war.

As per intel collected by US officials, the Kremlin decided to withdraw its troops from Kherson based on concerns that its soldiers would “be cut off from supplies as winter set in.”

Additionally, military police were out on the streets, hunting for Russian soldiers and saboteurs who might have hidden themselves among the residents as civilians.

The regional governor noted that a strict curfew would be implemented between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to prevent people from leaving the city.

“The enemy mined all critical infrastructure objects.” “We are trying to meet within a few days and [then] open the city,” he told Ukrainian TV, adding that mobile phone operations could start working on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Zelensky revealed that Ukraine would continue with its counter-offensive measures against Russia and go on recapturing occupied territory like Henichesk (Russia’s named administrative “capital” for the Kherson region) and Melitopol.

“We will definitely reach our state border—all sections of the internationally recognised border of Ukraine,” he said.

Also Read: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Asks ASEAN to Stop Russia’s “Hunger Games”

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