UN Says Growing Evidence Of Russian War Crimes In Ukraine

The United Nations says that Russian actions in Ukraine, which have included summary executions of civilians, may amount to war crimes.

"Russian armed forces have indiscriminately shelled and bombed populated areas, killing civilians and wrecking hospitals, schools, and other civilian infrastructure, actions that may amount to war crimes," Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on April 22.

In the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, a UN mission has documented that 50 civilians had been killed there, including by summary execution, Shamdasani said.

Mass graves and hundreds of dead civilians were discovered in Bucha and other towns around Kyiv after Russian troops retreated three weeks ago.

Russian officials denied that their soldiers killed any civilians there and accused Ukraine of staging the atrocities.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on April 22 that "over these eight weeks [since the start of war], international humanitarian law has not merely been ignored but seemingly tossed aside."

The UN mission "has also documented what appears to be the use of weapons with indiscriminate effects, causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects, by Ukrainian armed forces in the east of the country," she said.

From the start of the war on February 24 to midnight on April 20, the UN mission had documented and verified that 2,345 civilians have been killed and 2,919 wounded, it said.

"We know the actual numbers are going to be much higher, as the horrors inflicted in areas of intense fighting, such as Mariupol, come to light," Bachelet said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP