A Ukrainian soldier walks amid the mass grave in liberated Izyum, dug by Russian occupiers (Reuters)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1436 GMT:
Reinforcing evidence of Russian torture of detainees (see Original Entry), Kharkiv region prosecutors say they found a basement where Russian forces administered electric shocks.
Images showed a Russian military TA-57 telephone with additional wires and alligator clips attached to it.
UPDATE 1212 GMT:
Satellite images show Russian forces moving anti-aircraft missiles toward Ukraine from as far away as St. Petersburg, one of the most important areas for Russia’s air defense.
The image indicate mobile firing platforms and missiles disappeared during the summer from a base on the Karelian Isthmus, northwest of St Petersburg, Russia’s second city.
St. Petersburg has long been surrounded by 14 anti-aircraft missile bases, but several are now vacant.
“Based on the pictures, four anti-aircraft bases have been emptied of equipment,” military expert Maj. (Ret.) Marko Eklund told the Finnish site Yle, which was given the images.
Russia has reportedly been using the anti-aircraft systems in attacks on Ukrainian areas, including civilian sites, as its forces run short of missiles.
UPDATE 1144 GMT:
Russian forces have killed four medics and wounded two patients in an attack on a psychiatric hospital in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.
The casualties were suffered as the facility in the village of Strelechya was being evacuated under intense shelling. Staff were only able to move 30 of the 600 patients.
Two women were slain when a Russian tank fired on their car.
UPDATE 0658 GMT:
At least one person was killed and two wounded on Saturday in strikes on the Russian city of Belgorod, a launching point for the invasion across the Ukraine border.
On Friday, an attack near Valuyki — nine miles north of the border — hit the base of Russia’s 3rd Motorized Rifle Division border. Russian officials said one civilian died, and the electrical grid was disrupted.
Ukrainian officials do not claim responsibility for attacks inside Russia, but they are putting further pressure on Russian troops facing Kyiv’s counter-offensive in northeast Ukraine.
Analyst Tom Warner explains that Belgorod has become less important as a rail hub, now that its routes all lead into liberated areas of Ukraine.
However, “Valuyki has gained weight — the line from it southeast across Luhansk oblast is now the main supply line for Russians in the northeast”. That line will be essential for Russia if the Ukrainian counter-offensive moves from the Kharkiv region into neighboring northern Luhansk.
A thread on Russia's rail supply lines to its occupying forces in Ukraine – how these have been affected by the recent Kharkiv offensive, and what's likely to happen next if, as I expect, Ukraine moves next to retake northern Luhansk oblast. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/eT80j1WmW5
— Tom Warner (@warnerta) September 18, 2022
UPDATE 0648 GMT:
Russia’s latest attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed five civilians and wounded 18.
Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said two people were killed in Bakhmut, two in Vuhledar, and one in Heorhiivka.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Amid more discoveries of mass killings of Ukraine’s civilians, the European Union’s Presidency has called for a special tribunal to investigate Russian war crimes.
Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský of the Czech Republic, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, wrote on Saturday: “I call for the speedy establishment of a special international tribunal that will prosecute the crime of aggression.”
Russia left behind mass graves of hundreds of shot and tortured people in the Izyum area. In the 21st century, such attacks against the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent. We must not overlook it. We stand for the punishment of all war criminals. #StandwithUkraine
— Jan Lipavský (@JanLipavsky) September 17, 2022
In liberated Izyum in eastern Ukraine, investigators continue to exhume and examine more than 440 bodies found in a mass grave in a forest outside the city.
Officials have said that 99% show signs of violent death. While some were killed by shelling or airstrikes, others were shot and some show signs of torture and execution.
National police chief Igor Klymenko said torture chambers had also been found in other areas of the Kharkiv region, where Ukrainian forces have advanced rapidly in the past 12 days, such as the town of Balakliia.
Parliament’s human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets estimated there were “probably more than 1,000 Ukrainian citizens tortured and killed in the liberated territories of the Kharkiv region”.
A resident of Izyum, Maksim Maksimov, described the torture by electric shocks in the basement of the city’s police station:
I collapsed. They pulled me upright. There was a hood on my head. I couldn’t see anything. My legs went numb. I was unable to hear in my left ear.
Then they did it again. I passed out. I came round 40 minutes later back in my cell.
“Putin is Responsible”
The Czech statement amplifies Thursday’s comments by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen:
Putin must lose this war and must face up to his actions, that is important to me. We support the collection of evidence.
That is the basis of our international legal system, that we punish these crimes. And ultimately, Putin is responsible.
In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy summarized:
Torture was a common practice in the occupied territory. This is what the Nazis did. This is what the Ruscists are doing.
And they will be held to account in the same way – both on the battlefield and in the courtrooms.