A mass burial site in Izyum in eastern Ukraine, discovered after the liberation of the city from Russian invaders, September 2022
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1628 GMT:
Posting images of bodies exhumed from a mass grave in Izyum, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has written:
The whole world should see this.
A world in which there should be no cruelty and terrorism. But all this is there. And its name is Russia.
Oleg Synegubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said some of the more than 440 bodies had their hands tied behind their backs. That indicated that victims did not just die from shelling and airstrikes but also from executions during the Russian occupation, ended last weekend by the liberation of a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
More than 400 bodies were found at the mass burial site in Izium. With signs of torture, children, those killed as a result of missile attacks, warriors of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Russia leaves only death and suffering. Murderers. Torturers. Deprived of everything human. You won’t run away. You won’t hide. Retribution will be justly dreadful. For every Ukrainian, for every tortured soul.
Exhumation of hundreds of unmarked graves near Izyum. Witnesses confirmed to me that they saw people people being shot on the streets by Russians. Others died from shelling and a lack of access to healthcare. So horrible, I can hardly breath. pic.twitter.com/BeCf21FBuO
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) September 16, 2022
UPDATE 1616 GMT:
The Russian proxy administration in the port city of Berdyansk says the deputy head of military civil administration and the head of the commission for the referendum to join Russia have been killed.
The two officials, who were married to each other, were slain in their garage.
The administration did not give details of the “double murder” but said Ukrainians were responsible.
At least five Russian officials — two in Berdyansk, two in Luhansk (see 1034 GMT), and one in Kherson (see 0918 GMT) — have been killed on Friday.
UPDATE 1108 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks on the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed five civilians and injured six.
Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said the fatalities were in Selydove, Krasnohorivka, Marinka, Soledar, and Bakhmut.
In the northeast, Russian shelling across the Kharkiv region injures 12 civilians, including 2 children.
Governor Oleh Syniehubov said the Russians targeted recently-liberated areas, including around Izyum and Kupyansk.
UPDATE 1052 GMT:
Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach, a prominent figure in the effort of Donald Trump’s camp to discredit Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 US Presidential election, has been accused of treason and working for Moscow.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau said Derkach received at least $567,000 from Russian agencies to discredit Ukraine in the international arena.
In June, Ukraine’s Security Service said it had exposed a Russian network of agents headed by Derkach. The MP allegedly received funds from the Russia’s GRU military intelligence services to create private security structures for Russian co-optation.
Russia allocated devoted $3 million to $4 million every few months for the operation.
Derkach was an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, following Giuliani’s 10-month campaign from November 2018 to spread disinformation about Joe Biden and his family.
That effort ended in September 2019 amid Trump’s pressure, including the suspension of US military aid, on Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskiy to publicly declare the allegations against Biden. Trump was impeached over the scandal, but escaped conviction in January 2020 in the Republican-majority Senate.
In late 2019, amid the move towards Trump’s impeachment, Derkach and Giuliani appeared together on the hard-right One America “News” Network, repeating the disinformation against Joe Biden. Giuliani used clips of the segment on his podcast in March 2020.
In September 2020, the US Treasury announced sanctions against Derkach over the “covert influence campaign”. Six months later, a report from the US intelligence community said Vladimir Putin supervised Derkach’s “key role”.
UPDATE 1037 GMT:
Pope Francis has said it is morally legitimate for countries to provide weapons to assist Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression.
This is a political decision which can be morally acceptable if it is done under conditions of morality….Self-defence is not only licit but also an expression of love for the homeland.
Someone who does not defend oneself, who does not defend something, does not love it. Those who defend [something] love it.
UPDATE 1034 GMT:
There has also been an explosion in a building of the Russian proxy administration in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, reportedly killing the Prosecutor General and his deputy.
Video shows damage to the structure, which include the prosecutor’s office.
⚡️⚡️⚡️ As a result of an explosion in the prosecutor's office building in #Luhansk, the "Prosecutor General of the #LPR" Sergey Gorenko was killed, #Russian state media reported. pic.twitter.com/xmkm5gHa2c
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 16, 2022
UPDATE 0918 GMT:
Russian State outlets say Ukrainian forces, using US-supplied HIMARS artillery, struck the Russia’s military administration in Kherson city in southern Ukraine.
At least one person was killed and three injured by five shells on the administration buildings, said the Russian proxy deputy head Kirill Stremousov.
Videos show at least one body, an injured person, and damage to the site.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) September 16, 2022
Deputy Head of Administration Ekaterina Gubareva said the slain victim was a driver for the head of the Labor Department.
She said heads of departments and districts were meeting when the rockets struck.
“Some guy saved me. I grabbed a hand which dragged me and helped me to get out from under the rubble,” said Gubareva.
Vadim Ilmiev, the head of the Health Department, said the city center is cordoned off. Medics are working at the scene, with ambulances taking the first victims to the hospital.
UPDATE 0907 GMT:
Germany has put the German subsidiary of Russia’s oil company Rosneft in trusteeship.
The Economy Ministry said in a statement about Rosneft Deutschland GmbH, which has about 12% of Germany’s oil processing capacity:
The continuation of the business operations of the affected refineries was in danger due to the ownership of the companies. Central critical service providers such as suppliers, insurance companies, IT companies and banks, but also customers, were no longer willing to work with Rosneft.
UPDATE 0843 GMT:
UK military intelligence reinforces reports that Putin’s close advisor and fixer Yevgeny Prigozhin — the financier of the Wagner Group mercenaries — is leading a recruiting campaign among Russian prisoners.
English subtitles for the video of #Russia|n oligarch Prigozhin, who is close to Putin & runs the Wagner private military company, pitching to prison inmates, while trying to recruit them for his PMC to deploy in the #war against #Ukraine:
— Alex Kokcharov (@AlexKokcharov) September 14, 2022
The analysts also note that Russian military academies have also been shortening training periods for cadets, indicating “increasingly severe” shortages of junior officers and combat infantry.
The US-based Institute for the Study of War adds that Russia has “almost certainly” drained a large portion of forces stationed in former Soviet states, weakening its presence in those areas.
Clashes are reported this morning between former Soviet republics Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Kyrgyzstan’s border guard service saidTajik forces once again opened fire on several of its outposts, amid skirmishes along the whole length of a poorly-demarcated.
The Kyrgyz military said Tajik forces are using tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and mortars. Tajikistan accused Kyrgyzstan of shelling one of its outposts and seven villages with “heavy weaponry”, killing one civilian and injuring three.
The governors of Kyrgyz and Tajik provinces adjacent to the border were set to meet at a border crossing point and try to defuse the situation, Kyrgyz border guards set.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Amid more evidence of war crimes in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has endorsed the trial of Vladimir Putin in the International Criminal Court.
After her meetings with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv on Thursday, Von der Leyen said in an interview on German TV:
That 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.
Ukrainian authorities have found a mass burial site of more than 440 bodies in Izyum in northeast Ukraine after the city was liberated by Kyiv’s forces last weekend.
Serhiy Bolvinov, the chief police investigator for the Kharkiv region, said, “It is one of the largest burial sites in a big town in liberated [areas]….440 bodies were buried in one place. Some died because of artillery fire….Some died because of air strikes.”.
With residents speaking of detentions and executions, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy drew a comparison with April’s discovery of hundreds of slain civilians in Bucha near Kyiv, after Russian forces withdrew from northern Ukraine.
The President said in his nightly address to the nation:
Russia is leaving death behind it everywhere and must be held responsible. The necessary procedures have already begun there. More information – clear, verifiable information – should be available tomorrow.
Ukrainian officials said at least 1,000 people died in Izyum — a staging point for Russia’s offensive in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine — during the occupation.
The 440 bodies were in a forest outside the city. Hundreds of graves had simple wooden crosses, most with numbers and no names. A larger grave said 17 Ukrainian soldiers were interred, but a Ukrainian official said there might be more than 25 or 30 victims.
Sergei Gorodko, an Izyum resident, said among those buried were dozens of adults and children killed in a Russian airstrike on an apartment building. He had pulled some of them out of the rubble “with [his] own hands”.
Ukraine “Well on Track” to Joining EU
At a joint press conference alongside Zelenskiy on Thursday, Von der Leyen said Kyiv’s “ascension process” to the European Union “is well on track”.
It’s impressive to see the speed, the determination, the preciseness to which you are progressing. We support you wherever we can. I cannot say to speed up the process because you are speeding it up. That is very good.
Ukraine was granted candidate status by the EU in July. In her third trip to Kyiv since the Russian invasion, von der Leyen said, “We have agreed that we need to work as much as possible to make sure that Ukraine has more business, more income and that it’s as seamless access to the European single market as possible for Ukraine.”
Von der Leyen announced another €150m ($150m) in EU aid for internally displaced Ukrainians to shelter through the winter, and €100m for reconstruction and repair work for schools.
She added, “To all member states: it’s absolutely vital and necessary to support Ukraine with the military equipment they need to defend themselves. They have proven that they are able to do that if they are well equipped. This is the general recommendation to all member states.”
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed the supply of two Mars II multiple-rocket launch systems, 200 missiles, and 50 armored “Dingo” troop carriers, said, Agence France-Presse reports. That follows this week’s delivery of four more Gepard anti-aircraft guns, bringing the total to 24.
Soviet-made BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles will “very quickly” be sent to Ukraine from Greece, Lambrecht added, with Germany close to resupplying Greek stocks with the more modern Marder armoured vehicles.
However, Lambrecht reiterated that Germany will not “go it alone” over supply of battle tanks, noting that no ally has done so yet.