Russian strikes in Ukraine leave millions in distress, says UN rights boss – National

The UN human rights chief said on Thursday that Russian strikes on critical infrastructure in Ukraine since October had killed at least 77 civilians and put millions in extreme hardship.

Much of the country was left without heat or electricity after the most devastating Russian airstrikes on its energy grid to date. Since early October, Russia has launched missiles about once a week in an effort to destroy Ukraine’s power grid.

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Moscow admits attacking basic infrastructure but denies it targets civilians, saying it aims to reduce Ukraine’s ability to fight and pressure it to negotiate. Kyiv says such attacks are a war crime.

“Millions of people are thrown into extreme hardship and appalling living conditions because of these strikes,” Volker Turk said in a statement. “Taken as a whole, this poses serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for each object attacked.

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In the same statement, he said the UN’s preliminary analysis of the videos that appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers executing Russian POWs indicated they were “highly likely to be authentic”. Kyiv has previously said it will investigate any alleged abuses by its armed forces.

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The UN monitoring team said Russia and Ukraine tortured prisoners of war.

Turk called on Russia and Ukraine to issue clear instructions to their forces on the treatment of POWs and said all allegations of summary executions should be fully investigated.


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