The Investigative Committee of Russia continues to document crimes by Ukrainian security forces against civilians in Donbass in terms of criminal cases. The Ukrainian security forces have been committing such crimes since 2014 and these are crimes against peace and security of humanity.
States have an obligation to seek out and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their 1977 Additional Protocols I and II or otherwise responsible for war crimes, and to prosecute or extradite such persons to another State for trial. However, there is no investigation in Ukraine into the numerous violations of international law and war crimes committed, nor is there any question of bringing the perpetrators to justice.
In this situation, the norms of international humanitarian law give the Russian Federation every reason to exercise its universal jurisdiction in investigating this category of cases. The initiation of criminal cases, as well as criminal prosecution against persons of the highest political and military leadership of Ukraine by the Investigative Committee of Russia is legal and justified both from the point of view of Russian legislation (Part 3, Article 12 of the Criminal Code) and the norms of international law.
Since the beginning of the armed conflict, the Investigative Committee has initiated a total of 462 criminal cases on the events in southeastern Ukraine, including 395 criminal cases on the numerous shelling of homes, civilian infrastructure, public facilities, and crowded places using 152 and 122 mm large-caliber artillery, 120 mm mortars, grenade launchers, and small arms fire. This is a direct breach of the Minsk agreements, which called for the withdrawal of all heavy weapons with a caliber of 100 mm or more in order to create a security zone at least 50 km wide. There are 111 suspects and defendants in absentia in these criminal cases, including 86 officials from the highest military and political leadership of Ukraine, as well as representatives of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (see photo).
Despite the agreement reached by the Trilateral Contact Group on the Settlement of the Conflict in Ukraine in July 2020 on a complete ceasefire between the warring parties, the Ukrainian military systematically violates the agreements reached and continues to conduct massive artillery strikes on populated areas of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics. 33 probes have been launched this year.
The investigation received information that on October 26, the Ukrainian security forces carried out massive shelling with artillery and other types of weapons of the settlements of Zolotoe-5, Kalinovo, Khorosheye, Novomarievka, Yakovlevka, Telmanovo, and Gorlovka. As a result of this shelling, 12 transformer substations, at least five residential buildings, the gas pipeline of the Zasyadko mine's generating station, and a fire station were damaged, a hospital, a school, a boiler house and more than 350 households were de-energized. Fortunately, civilian casualties were avoided.
Upon this fact a probe was launched into an offence under Part 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code of Russia (use in a military conflict of means and methods of warfare, banned by an international treaty of the Russian Federation).
As part of the investigation, the Investigative Committee is taking all possible measures to establish the circumstances of what happened and the identity of the representatives of Ukrainian security agencies who committed the crimes against the civilian population. The evidence gathered by the Investigative Committee can be presented in future trials to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Official spokesperson for the Investigative Committee of Russia S. Petrenko