International Criminal Court joins team to investigate alleged war crimes in Ukraine

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will participate in the joint team investigating alleged war crimes in Ukraine following the Russian invasion, the European Union Agency for Cooperation in Cooperation announced on Monday. matters of criminal justice.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and the attorneys general of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine have signed an agreement for the international war crimes tribunal’s first-ever participation in a team of investigators, according to a press release published by Eurojust.

“With this agreement, the parties send a clear message that all efforts will be undertaken to effectively gather evidence on the main international crimes committed in Ukraine and bring those responsible to justice,” the Eurojust agency said.

Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine signed an agreement last month to set up a team to enable the exchange of information and investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Early last month, Khan opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine, following requests to do so from an unprecedented number of court member states.

Ukraine doubts the safety of Russia’s evacuation plan

Women ask for help in group video saying they are from Mariupol bunker

A video has been released by Ukraine’s far-right Azov Battalion which it says originates from the Azovstal steelworks bunker in Mariupol, in which women, speaking in Russian, plead for release from Russia’s siege . ‘Help us!’ we cry. The Azov Battalion is a far-right armed group that was integrated into the National Guard of Ukraine after the first Russian invasion in 2014. 1:22

Earlier Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced plans for a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to safely exit the beleaguered Mariupol steelworks.

Ukrainian officials said up to 1,000 civilians were sheltering at the Azovstal plant.

But Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on the Telegram messaging app that Ukraine did not accept this evacuation plan and, for this reason, does not consider the route safe.

Vereshchuk also said that Russia has already broken agreements on similar humanitarian corridors. Ukraine asks the United Nations to intervene to supervise the evacuation.

A satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows damage to the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine on Sunday. (Planet Labs PBC/Associated Press)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to visit Russia and Ukraine this week. Vereshchuk called on Guterres to be the “initiator and guarantor” of a humanitarian route out of Azovstal, and for UN and International Committee of the Red Cross personnel to accompany anyone evacuated.

The gigantic steelworks, which has a sprawling maze of underground canals, is the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the strategic port city on the Sea of ​​Azov.

Ukrainian troops stubbornly resisted the sprawling factory for weeks, despite beatings by Russian forces and repeated demands for surrender.

Previously, Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered his forces not to storm the steelworks, but to block it “so that not even a fly would pass”.

On Saturday, local residents walk near a damaged military vehicle in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Alexei Alexandrov/Associated Press)

Additional losses and gains

When Russia invaded on February 24, its apparent objective was a lightning offensive to take the capital and perhaps even overthrow the government. But the Ukrainians, aided by Western weapons, bogged down Putin’s troops and thwarted their push towards kyiv.

Moscow now says its target is the eastern Donbass region, although a senior military official has said it also wants to control southern Ukraine. While both sides have said the campaign in the east has begun, it has yet to gain momentum.

Russia unleashed a series of attacks on Ukrainian rail and oil facilities on Monday, hitting crucial infrastructure far from the front line of its eastern offensive.

Columns of thick black smoke rose Monday morning from the site of a Russian missile strike at the Krasne railway station in the Zolochiv region of western Ukraine. (Jean-Francois Benoit/CBC)

Oleksandr Kamyshin, the head of Ukraine’s state-run railways, said five railway facilities in central and western Ukraine were hit, including a missile attack near the western city of Lviv.

Meanwhile, two fires were reported at oil facilities in western Russia. It is not known what caused the fires.

Ukrainian authorities said at least five people were killed by Russian strikes in the central Vinnytsia region. Regional prosecutors said 18 other people were injured.

Russia also destroyed an oil refinery in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, as well as fuel depots, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday. In total, Russian warplanes destroyed 56 Ukrainian targets overnight, he said.

Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said war is settling, for now, in a campaign of incremental battlefield gains and losses.

“Both sides are getting weaker every day,” he said. “So it’s a question of what new can you bring, but what can you destroy on the other side?”

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