Tuesday, 3 January ‘23

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

Tuesday, 3 January ‘23

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

Tuesday, 3 January, 2023
IWPR

IWPR

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

First Suspicions Announced in Shelling of Civilian Targets

On January 3 the security service announced the first suspicions over the shelling of civilian objects in Ukraine, with significant evidence collected against a Russian general and an admiral.

The offences relate to the commander of long-range aviation of the Air and Space Forces, Colonel-General Serhii Kobylash and the former commander of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, Admiral Igor Osipov.

They were both charged under two articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: part 2 Art 437 (planning, preparation, initiation and waging of an aggressive war); part 3 Art 110 (encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine). 

These are the first suspicions that Ukraine has announced specifically over the shelling of civilian objects. The maximum sanction is life imprisonment.

New pre-trial investigations have also begun over several mass strikes carried out around New Year, including a January 1 UAV attack in the Kyiv region.

5,000 War Crimes in De-occupied Territories

According to the national police, more than 5,000 war crimes committed by Russia have been documented in the liberated territories of Ukraine.

Investigators recorded the largest number of war crimes in the liberated territories of the Kharkiv region, police official Oleksiy Sergeev told reporters.

“Police investigators documented 5,398 war crimes. The absolute majority of which - 4088 – were in the Kharkiv region, 609 in the Kherson region, 542 in the Mykolaiv region, and 88 in the Luhansk region,” he said.

Police in the Donetsk, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Kherson regions had found the bodies of 1,116 civilians, 31 of them children, he said. 

Shooting of Civilians in Kharkiv Region

A Russian commander who ordered soldiers to open fire on civilians will face trial in Kharkiv.

On the first day of the full-scale invasion, the commander of a battalion tactical group, together with other servicemen, reached the ring road of the city of Kharkiv. The Russian military ordered civilians attempting to leave the area in their car to turn around. When they protested, the commander in question gave the order to fire on civilian cars, although several of his soldiers refused to do so.

The pre-trial investigation established that the suspect was currently in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation. 

Hostomel Case Referred to Court

Kyiv investigators completed the pre-trial investigation of two Russians who, during the occupation of Hostomel near the city of Kyiv, killed a man for refusing to transport enemy ammunition. The case has been referred to court. 

According to the investigation, Russian servicemen had set up a temporary military post in the Hostomel animal shelter. They attempted to force a local man to unload ammunition at the premises, but he categorically refused.
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In response, the commander ordered a subordinate soldier to shoot the Ukrainian civilian. In compliance with a direct order, the soldier fired several shots at the victim, as a result of which the man died.

3D Models for Damaged Infrastructure 

A Spanish expert mission carried out inspections of 15 damaged infrastructure objects in Kyiv region and created corresponding 3D models as part of nine criminal proceedings, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“These technical solutions are an important help for Ukrainian law enforcement agencies when conducting relevant expert studies,” the office said in a statement.

Serbian experts are also preparing to share their experience in investigating war crimes with Ukrainian law enforcement officers.

Kherson Residents Remain in Russian Captivity

Almost 500 residents of the Kherson region are still in Russian captivity, the regional prosecutor’s office said on January 2. Anastasia Vesilovska, press secretary of the Kherson prosecutor’s office, told the Suspilne outlet that the Russians had kidnapped 1,100 people in the Kherson region since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Among them were city leaders, heads of village councils and their deputies, elders and clergymen.

“Currently, the investigation is aware of the release of 638 citizens, the occupiers continue to illegally detain 474 people. The law enforcement officers are taking measures to establish the whereabouts of these people, pre-trial investigations are ongoing,” said Vesilovska.

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