Tuesday, 28 February ‘23

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

Tuesday, 28 February ‘23

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

Tuesday, 28 February, 2023


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

One Year On: Investigations Into War Crimes

Ukraine’s prosecutor general Andrii Kostin stated that more than 68,000 war crimes have been recorded since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

These include over 2,600 offences against children, in addition to more than 16,000 minors who were forcibly taken to Russia and Belarus. 

So far, 276 Russian military personnel have been notified of suspicion of war crimes and 96 indictments sent to court. A total of 26 people have been convicted, 14 of whom were prisoners of war and 12 in absentia. 

Russian Soldier Sentenced to 12 Years for Torture

The Chernihiv district court sentenced in absentia Russian soldier Konstantin Kuznetov to 12 years for violating the laws and customs of war. Kuznetov was found guilty of torturing a civilian in the village of Tovstolis. Oleksandr M told the court that Kuznetov, together with other Russian servicemen, tortured him for four days to extort the location of Ukrainian soldiers. 

Belarusian Mercenary Convicted 

A Belarusian citizen was sentenced to ten years in prison for participating as a mercenary in an armed conflict (Part 4 of Article 447 of Ukraine’s criminal code). The man, whose name has not been disclosed, fought in Ukraine as a machine gunner repeater with the Veterans unit of the Redut Russian private military company between July 21 and September 19 2022 when he was captured in the Donetsk region.

Russian Commander Suspected of Ordering Torture 

Ukrainian investigators said that they had established that Russian commander Aleksey Oshchepkov ordered the brutal treatment of civilians and other violations of the laws and customs of war during the occupation of Kherson region (Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code). The 45-year-old is the commander of the Viatych 15th special unit of the Russian Guard. Oshchepkov is accused of ordering subordinates to detain the son of the head of the Ivanivka territorial community in early May 2022. The Russian soldiers put a plastic bag on the 36-year-old man’s head, tied his hands with cable ties, and beat him to get the information about his father’s whereabouts.

Investigators also suspect that Oshchepkov ordered the detention of the son of another local community leader to pressure the father to cooperate with the occupying authorities. 

Two Russian Soldiers to be Tried in Absentia in Chernihiv

Russian pilot Aleksandr Krasnoiartsev will be tried in absentia in Chernihiv for violating the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder (Part 2 of Article 438 of the criminal code). The pre-trial investigation established that on March 5 2022 Krasnoiartsev’s jet was downed and landed on the territory of a private house in Chernihiv. He tried to hide, but after the house owner saw him, the Russian shot and killed him. 

Captured, the pilot was exchanged and an investigation opened in July 2022. A parallel probe into the pilot’s involvement in bombing civilian objects is also ongoing.

The Chernihiv court also received the indictment in absentia against a soldier, stationed in Russia’s far eastern Republic of Tyva, who is accused of brutalising a resident of  Yagidne during the occupation of the village in March 2022. According to the investigation, in an attempt to obtain information about Ukrainian armed forces the accused shot over the victim’s head with an AK-47 assault rifle, threw a grenade at his feet, and then took him to the basement of a school, where other residents were kept as human shields. He is accused of violating the laws and customs of war (Part 1 of Article 438 of the criminal code) and faces up to 12 years in prison.

RT Ex-presenter Convicted in Absentia

A Kyiv court sentenced Russian broadcaster Anton Kuznetsov-Krasovskyi to five years imprisonment with confiscation of property on charges of calls for genocide and violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order (Part 2 of Article 442, Part 3 of Article 109 of the criminal code).

Between January and March 2022 the former presenter and director of the RT Russian TV channel incited the overthrow of Ukraine’s constitutional system, the liquidation of its statehood and the physical destruction of the Ukrainian people. In October 2022 he stated that Ukrainian children should be drowned: the backlash that followed led to his suspension from RT.

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