Putin Warns Russians of Protracted Ukraine War, But Says He Won’t Call Up Troops

The Ukrainian government has staunchly rejected suggestions from some European and American politicians that it try to negotiate a settlement as long as Ukrainian territory remains under occupation, pointing to the rights abuses discovered in areas reclaimed from Russia. The Ukrainian authorities discovered more than 1,000 bodies after the Russian withdrawal from around Kyiv.

The U.N. investigators focused on proven cases of summary execution or the targeting of individual civilians by Russian soldiers, excluding victims of artillery shelling. The report focused narrowly on killings by the Russian Army in towns and villages north of Kyiv occupied from Feb. 24 to April 6.

“Soon after the retreat of Russian troops from various town and villages,” the report said, “local residents, authorities and law enforcement began to recover bodies of dead civilians in considerable numbers.” The bodies were found on streets, in fields, in parks, in forested areas, in houses, in burned vehicles on highways, in basements and pits and improvised graves, it said.

War crimes prosecutions are likely to be years away, and the Russian government has not cooperated, the U.N. report noted. It said Moscow had shown “no indications” that it intended to investigate or prosecute its soldiers for misdeeds.

The investigators studied a selection of 100 cases in greater detail, and found that 57 were summary executions. In other instances, civilians were shot from a distance as they drove in cars, rode bicycles or walked, sometimes while trying to flee the combat zone, the report said.

“In most cases, victims of killings in places of detention were found with their hands cuffed or bound by duct tape, and with injuries suggesting torture or other ill-treatment before being killed,” the report said. One body had signs consistent with sexual violence, it said.

The investigators relied on site visits, interviews with relatives, records of forensic examinations, and photographs and audio recordings, the report said.

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