Nov. 14 (UPI) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian soldiers of committing hundreds of war crimes in the Eastern European country’s Kherson region, which Kyiv forces last week recovered from its retreating occupiers.
Russia ordered its troops Wednesday to leave Kherson under pressure of Ukraine‘s counteroffensive that has recaptured thousands of miles of territory previously seized by Moscow amid its nearly nine-month-long war.
Kherson, which Russia had captured early in its invasion, is also one of four regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had formally annexed in early October.
In the absence of Russian forces, investigators have documented more than 400 war crimes committed by Kremlin troops, Zelensky said in his nightly address Sunday.
“In Kherson region, the Russian army left behind the same atrocities as in other regions of our country, where it was able to enter,” he said. “We will find and bring to justice every murderer. Without a doubt.”
The president said the bodies of both civilians and military personnel have been found in Kherson.
Specifics of the alleged war crimes were not listed, but Kyiv has repeatedly accused Russia of committing such offense amid its invasion of Ukraine.
Following the liberation of Ukrainian regions, Kyiv has documented several mass graves where the bodies of hundreds of civilians displaying evidence of being executed and tortured were buried.
Countrywide, Ukraine accuses Russia of committing more than 46,000 war crimes and crimes of aggression. Its office of the prosecutor general states that at least 430 children have been killed in the war and another 829 injured. Kharkiv, the office said, was where the second highest number of child casualties at 264 occurred.
The United Nations has also repeatedly said war crimes, including violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, have been committed in Ukraine.
In mid-October, a U.N. commission produced a report that said its investigators have documented an array of violations by the Russian forces, including attacks of explosive weapons used indiscriminately in populated areas and soldiers attacking fleeing civilians, as well as other violations.
“The commission document patterns of summary executions, unlawful confinement, torture, ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence committed in areas occupied by Russian armed forces,” it said. “People have been detained, some have been unlawfully deported to the Russian Federation and many are still reported missing.
“Sexual violence has affected victims of all ages. Family members, including children, were sometimes forced to witness the crimes.”
The report states that both sides have committed violations, but the “Russian armed forces are responsible for the vast majority.”