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Ukraine war: More than 15,000 suspected war crimes reported – Russian ministers and propagandists among those accused

More than 15,000 suspected war crimes have been reported in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the country’s chief prosecutor has said.

Iryna Venediktova said more than 500 suspects have been identified, which include Russian ministers, military commanders and propagandists.

Ms Venediktova told a news conference in The Hague that “about 200-300 war crimes are committed every day”.

A few thousand alleged war crimes have been reported in the eastern Donbas region, where fierce fighting is taking place between Ukrainian and Russian troops.

Ms Venediktova said that although Ukrainian authorities did not have access to the Russian-held areas of Donbas, they were interviewing evacuees and prisoners of war.

Prosecutors are investigating claims of people being tortured, civilians being killed and civilian infrastructure being destroyed, Ms Venediktova said.

Other allegations have been made about Ukrainian children and adults being forcibly taken to Russia, she said.

Russian soldiers convicted

Russian forces have previously been accused of killing civilians in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs, as well as repeated assaults on civilian infrastructure, which include hospitals and a theatre in Mariupol that was sheltering hundreds of civilians.

On Tuesday, a Ukrainian court convicted two Russian soldiers of war crimes for the shelling of civilian buildings.

They were jailed for 11-and-a-half years in prison.

The first conviction linked to the conflict in Ukraine was last week, when a captured Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison for killing a civilian.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes.

Ms Venediktova said Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia have decided to join an international investigation team in Ukraine that includes Lithuania and Poland.

US to send more advanced rocket systems to Ukraine

It comes as Ukraine civilians fear for their lives in the eastern region of Luhansk, where Russians are fighting to take control of Severodonetsk, one of the last remaining cities held by Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden reinforced his commitment to helping the country defend itself, announcing that he would send more advanced rocket systems and munitions as part of a $700m (£556m) weapons package expected to be unveiled today.

In an opinion article in the New York Times, Mr Biden said the US has “moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table”.

But he emphasised that he does not seek a war between NATO and Russia.

“As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the US will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow,” he said.

“So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces.

“We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.”

Source : Sky News