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The empty seat for the representative of Russia is pictured during the Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Ukraine, at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 12 2022. Picture: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE
The empty seat for the representative of Russia is pictured during the Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Ukraine, at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 12 2022. Picture: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE

Geneva — The UN Human Rights Council was due to decide on Thursday whether to launch an investigation into alleged abuses by Russian troops in the Kyiv area that Ukraine says amount to war crimes.

The resolution, brought by Ukraine and supported by more than 50 other countries, would mandate a newly formed commission of inquiry to investigate events in the regions around Kyiv that were temporarily held by Russian troops.

It would prepare a report by early 2023.

“The areas … which have been under Russian occupation in late February and March have experienced the most gruesome human rights violations on the European continent in decades,” Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs, told the council.

A spokesman for the Russian mission to the UN in Geneva did not provide an immediate comment on the possibility of a war crimes investigation.

Russia denies targeting civilians and calls its actions in Ukraine since February 24 a “special military operation” to disarm the country and rid it of what the Kremlin calls anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

Russia was suspended from the 47-member council in April over allegations of violations in Ukraine, although Moscow says it has quit of its own volition. According to UN rules, its envoy had the right to speak at Thursday’s event, but its seat was empty.

At the same session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said there were many examples of possible war crimes in the country since the Russian invasion, and that 1,000 bodies had been recovered so far in the Kyiv region.

“The scale of unlawful killings, including indicia of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv, is shocking,” she said.

Reuters

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