Tuesday, 23 May ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 23 May ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 23 May, 2023


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Nine Russian Soldiers Sentenced Over Bucha

On May 12, Irpin’s city court in Kyiv region issued the first verdict for war crimes committed in the town of Bucha during the Russian occupation in March 2022. Nine soldiers from the 64th Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade of the Russian army’s ground forces were found guilty in absentia of brutal treatment of civilians and deprivation of their liberty in violation of the laws and customs of war (Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code). 

The court sentenced the commander who gave the orders to 12 years of imprisonment; four other servicemen received 11 years and six months in prison, and four others 11 years of imprisonment. The verdict will enter into legal force after the expiry of the appeal period. The term of serving the sentence of the convicts will be counted from the day of their actual detention.

SBU Announces Suspicion Against Former Balaklia "Commandant" 

The investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported in absentia Russian soldier Valery Buslov about the suspicion of violating the laws and customs of war, committed by a group of persons based on a prior conspiracy (as per Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code)  

In March 2022, Buslov, call sign Granit, was in Balakliya, a town in the Izyum district of Kharkiv region, where he was appointed as a “commander”. As such, he is suspected of organising illegal detentions of local residents. Ukrainians were taken to the seized building of the district police department and subjected to torture and left without food and water. Some of the victims are still missing.

It is documented that Buslov personally interrogated the imprisoned people, subjected them to psychological and physical violence, threatened them with murder, and organised the forced deportation of their relatives to the Russian Federation. As Ukraine’s armed forces regained control of the town on September 8, 2022, Buslov reportedly fled to Russia.

Deputy Commander Reported for Invasion of Kyiv Region

SBU investigators reported in absentia Russian lieutenant general Anatoly Kontsevoy about the suspicion of an encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, resulting in the death of citizens (Part 3 of Article 110 of the criminal code) and of waging an aggressive war based on a prior conspiracy by a group of persons (Part 2 of Article 28, Part 2, Article 437 of the civil code).

According to the investigation, Kontsevoy, deputy commander of the Airborne Forces of Russia’s Armed Forces, prepared and ordered units to destroy and capture ground targets in the Kyiv region, including infrastructure facilities. 

On February 24, 2022, troops subordinate to him abided by his orders and crossed the state border of Ukraine from Belarus. On February 25, a column of troops crossed the Pripyat river. The combat task was to move to the area of the airport in Hostomel, about 35 kilometres north-west of the capital, and carry out operations for the occupation of Ukraine. 

SBU Identifies Russian Commander Who Ordered Kherson Shelling 

SBU investigators in the Kherson region reported in absentia Russian commander Dmitry Zharkih about the suspicion of giving an order to commit violations of the laws and customs of war in combination with intentional murder, based on a prior conspiracy by a group of persons (Part 2 of Article 28, Part 2 of Article 438 of the criminal code). Zharkih leads the artillery regiment of the Coast Guard troops of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian navy stationed in occupied Crimea.

The investigation found that Zharkih’s task was to launch missile strikes on civilian objects in the Kherson district, including residential buildings, shopping centres and other infrastructure. 

He developed and approved the strikes schedules, decided the ammunition, coordinated the actions of subordinates directly during the strikes, and reported the results to the highest military command of the Russian Federation.

On December 24, 2022, Zharkih, pushed to the left bank of the Dnieper after the de-occupation of Kherson city, ordered the shelling of civilian objects in the centre of the city with Grad missiles, which resulted in the death of 11 civilians and the injury of 64.

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