By Dr. Gregory Stanton & Nat Hill
People stand near a mass grave in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday. (Rodrigo Abd/AP)
The Russian armed forces, under Vladimir Putin, continue their brutal invasion of Ukrainian territory. There is now ample evidence that they are committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, and they are also committing the crime of aggression.
While Ukrainian forces have managed to push Russian forces back from Kyiv and other cities, the Russian forces are regrouping to continue their assault on Donbas and the Black Sea coast. Russian missiles, bombs, and artillery continue to ruthlessly bombard civilians.
Authenticated evidence has emerged of a Russian massacre of civilians in Bucha in the suburbs of Kyiv. According to the Kyiv Regional Police from 150 to 300 civilians were murdered by Russian forces in Bucha and thrown into mass graves. Many victims had their hands tied behind their backs before being executed.
Vladimir Putin has tried to deny the massacre at Bucha and other allegations of war crimes as “fake news,” borrowing a phrase from Donald Trump. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, after visiting the Bucha massacre site, has called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “genocide” and warned that Ukraine is being “destroyed and exterminated” by Russian forces. The EU, NATO, UK, and the United States have thus far been reluctant to call Russian crimes in Ukraine “genocide.” Perhaps they do not want to be subject to the Genocide Convention’s Article 1 obligation to “prevent” genocide. [ ICJ: Croatia v Serbia, 2015.]
For a discussion of the use of the term genocide in Ukraine please see Alex Hinton’s article at: https://theconversation.com/is-russia-committing-genocide-in-ukraine-a-human-rights-expert-looks-at-the-warning-signs-180017
The Russian military’s actions in Ukraine are like their previous invasions in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, and Syria. While these conflicts are rarely referred to as “genocide,” the Russian military’s frequent use of mass murder, carpet bombing, terror, and mass rape are indicative of the genocidal intent to destroy in part a national or ethnic group.
In Afghanistan, Russia destroyed Afghan villages with gunships and airstrikes regardless of their association with the Afghan mujahedeen. In their two wars in Chechnya, Russian forces bombed the city of Grozny into rubble, and in 1995 massacred the entire village of Samaskhi by incinerating hundreds of Chechen civilians with grenades and flamethrowers. In their 2008 invasion of Georgia, Russian forces again bombed civilians into submission. In Syria, the Russian and Syrian air forces bombed Aleppo and other cities into ruins, killing tens of thousands.
Ukrainians walk through the ruins of the port city of Mariupol, Reuters 2022
Based on the Russian military’s past actions and their current actions in Ukraine, Russia has a long-standing policy of “urbicide,” the destruction of cities and their populations. “Urbicide” is the intentional destruction, in part, of a national group. It is genocide. Unless Russian forces are stopped, they will leave every Ukrainian city they can reach in rubble and murder scores of thousands of Ukrainian civilians. Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine.
Please find the PDF of the report below: