Tuesday, 27 February ‘24

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

Tuesday, 27 February ‘24

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

Tuesday, 27 February, 2024


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Identified Russian Commander Used Civilians as Human Shields 

Investigators of Ukraine’s security service (SBU) in Chernihiv reported a suspicion in absentia against Semen Solovov, a Russian soldier from the 228th Guards Motorised Rifle Regiment, for violating the laws and customs of war and of ordering cruel treatment of the civilian population (Part 2 of Article 28, Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code of Ukraine). 

According to the investigation, in March 2022 36-year-old Solovov, a native of Russia’s far-east Sakhalin region, ordered his unit to keep 369 civilians, including children, in the basement of the school in the village of Yahidne in the north-eastern region of Chernihiv. They were kept for almost a month and reportedly used as human shields to protect the Russians’ command post, located in the school itself. Ten people died during the ordeal. 

The accused guarded the exit from the basement and threatened to detonate grenades when there was shouting and noise in the cellar.

Fifteen Russian soldiers are currently on trial, in absentia, in the Chernihiv district court, accused of being Solovov's subordinates who carried out his orders. 

Detention of Russian Paratrooper Extended 

On February 20, the Irpin city court extended the detention of Russian soldier Andrey Medvedev until April 19. The paratrooper, originally from Pskov, a north-western city near the border with Estonia, is on trial for brutal treatment of civilians in Irpin and Bucha in the spring of 2022. Asked by the prosecutor’s for a comment on the decision, Medvedev replied, “I will refrain [from commenting].” The court adjourned the case until March 6. Medvedev's case is moving slowly: the paratrooper has been charged and the court must now examine the evidence and proceed with the witnesses’ testimony.

Russian Commander Convicted for Shelling Hospital 

On February 14, the Trostyanetskyi district court of the Sumy region sentenced 24-year-old Russian sergeant and tank commander Anatoly Zhuravlev to 11 years in absentia for ordering tank fire to be directed at the Trostyanets city hospital in March 2022. Two direct shots from a tank gun damaged the hospital’s in-patient ward where patients and staff were located. 

The defence lawyer asked the court to acquit the accused due to the lack of evidence that Zhuravlev committed the crime. The attorney has 30 days to appeal the sentence issued under Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code of Ukraine. In 2023, the same court convicted in absentia two Russian tankers for shelling the medical facility.

Prosecutor General Investigating Death of Ukrainian POWs

Ukraine’s prosecutor general Andriy Kostin reported that 18 criminal proceedings are currently underway over the murder of 38 Ukrainian prisoners of war. According to official statistics, over 126,000 war crimes have been registered in Ukraine during the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation; most are in violation of the laws and customs of war (under Article 438 of the criminal code), planning, preparation or initiation and waging of an aggressive war (Article 437) and propaganda of war (Article 436). Of the 500 suspects, 97 are suspected of intentional murder and eight have been convicted. 

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