Recent news about the now-liberated city of Bucha show a massacre that was committed against civilians by the Russian invaders. Now, more than ever, it is necessary to implement a trade embargo on Russia in order to financially dry out the machinery of war.
In this entry, I wrote about occupation of Bucha and the massacre that took place; the casualties as of now and how many already had to flee, and finally what must (or rather should) be done now that the whole cruelty and horror of Russian occupation has been revealed.
Occupation of Bucha and the Massacre
While most people probably already have learned about the atrocities that were committed in Bucha, here a recap from the beginning (capture of the town) to its liberation:
- March 12th, 2022: Russian forces captured the city and fully occupy it, announcement made by the Bucharian City Council. A convoy of 20 buses sucessfully evacuates refugees.
- March 13th: 67 people, killed by Russian artillerly, were buried in a mass grave by the residents of Bucha.
- March 15th: Occupation of the city hall, employees at the building were captured and released the following day.
- March 16th: Counter-attack of Ukrainian military, including Bucha.
- March 22nd: Oleksandr Pavlyuk, head of the Ukrainian Regional Military Administration, stated the armed forces now try to prevent the Russian forces from crossing the Irpen River. Any offensive actions could not be taken at the time.
- March 31st: Ukrainian forces moved into Bucha and recapture the city.
- April 1st/2nd: The mayor of Bucha, Anatolii Fedoruk, said the city has been recaptured by the Ukrainian army.
- April 3rd: News about the massacre on civilians in the city of Bucha come out. The mayor of Bucha, Anatoliy Fedoruk, told reporters that about 300 civilians had been killed.
„Victims of these war crimes have already been found, including raped women who they tried to burn, local government officials killed, children killed, elderly people killed, men killed, many of them with tied hands, traces of torture and shot in the back of the head. Robberies, attempts to take gold, valuables, carpets, washing machines. It, of course, will be taken into account by the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine and law enforcement agencies and international criminal courts.“
– Oleksiy Arestovych, Ukrainian presidential adviser
Moreover, Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that they had evidence which documents war crimes in the occupied areas of the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv regions:
- 1 case of repeated rape
- 2 cases of summary executions (one of six men, the other of one man)
- Between February 27 and March 14, 2022 other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians
- Soldiers were also seen looting civilian property (from food to clothing and fireword)
‚“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed 10 people, including witnesses, victims, and local residents of Russia-occupied territories, in person or by telephone. Some people asked to be identified only by their first names or by pseudonyms for their protection.‘
Reminder: We don’t know what occured (or still occurs) in the still-occupied regions of Ukraine, especially Donezk, Luhansk and Crimea. Given Putin’s rhetoric that Ukraine was a mere ‚accident‘ of history, and his desire to wipe out Ukraine identity, the worst isn’t over
Civilians casualties as of March 31st (OCHA)
On February 24 at 4 a.m. the Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine began. This list of casualties by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) ended on March 31st at midnight, local time. The reports are based on information gathered by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) through „interviews with victims and their relatives; witnesses; analysis of corroborating material confidentially shared with HRMMU; official records; open-source documents, photo and video materials; forensic records and reports; criminal investigation materials; court documents; reports by international and national non-governmental organisations; public reports by law enforcement and military actors; data from medical facilities and local authorities“.
In order to ensure that the information is credible, the OCHA assesses and cross-checks the information they receive against other information.
As of now, 1,276 were killed and 1,981 injured.
- a total of 1,276 killed (260 men, 184 women, 18 girls, and 36 boys, as well as 61 children and 717 adults whose sex is yet unknown)
- a total of 1,981 injured (228 men, 174 women, 38 girls, and 34 boys, as well as 88 children and 1,419 adults whose sex is yet unknown)
- In Donetsk and Luhansk regions: 1,443 casualties (425 killed and 1,018 injured)
- On Government-controlled territory: 1,130 casualties (358 killed and 772 injured)
- On territory controlled by the self-proclaimed ‘republics’: 313 casualties (67 killed and 246 injured)
- In other regions of Ukraine (the city of Kyiv, and Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr regions), which were under Government control when casualties occurred: 1,814 casualties (851 killed and 963 injured)
- Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.
On April 2nd, 2022, the amount of Ukrainians who fled is 4,176,401 (source: UNHCR).
With a population of 43,274,545 (source: worldometeres) that’s nearly 10 % (9.65 %) of the total population that already fled as a result of the war.
„As of March 30, UNESCO said, the confirmed damaged sites, located in several regions across Ukraine, include 29 religious sites, 16 historic buildings, four museums and four monuments.“
Naturally, it is self-explanatory why such cultural sites need to be protected. They are part of a country’s history and therefore its identity, furthermore, museums and religious sites are vivid places of a people’s culture and the historic buildings and monuments important to keep the memory alive. Then there’s the Hague Convention of 1954: „Both Russian and Ukraine have signed on to an act by the Hague Convention in 1954 that protects cultural property during armed conflict. It prohibits and condemns all attacks and damage to cultural heritage.“
What Must Be Done
As I clearly stated in the introduction, a total embargo on Russia must now follow if the values of the West – especially Germany, who made itself dependent on Russian oil and gas – still mean something and whether the ‚Never Again‘ is a ‚Never Again!‘.
Vladimir Putin and his entire entourage have to pay for their war crimes and the suffering they’ve caused. From the highest to the lowest level of governance in this regime of his, everyone is involved in the actions – and inactions to stop it – and guilty of continuing this ever-increasing list of violations against international law. Ukraine shall be rebuild with the reparations Russia is going to pay, as well as financial aid of the European Union.
It is imperative for Ukraine to win against the aggressor, we have to continue our support with military equipment, intelligence (e.g. movement of Russian troops), financial aid and through whatever other means. Sanctions shall remain until Russia ends its aggression and returns the conquered territory to Ukraine.
Georgia should also be given the opportunity to either join Nato or securing their territorial sovereignty otherwise. Since the invasion in 2008, Russian troops remained on Georgian territory. (I know it likely is easier said than done, but it starts with a dialogue and how they’d like to proceed).
Finally, there also need to be discussions on security and foreign policy. Especially in Germany, where change has luckily already occured before the new government under Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced an investment boost of the Bundeswehr (see: Munich Security Conference 2020, I also wrote a summary about it, but since it was on German the summary is on German too). The structure of the military and the efficiency are as important as its funding, and there are many other aspects to discuss (diplomacy too, both the military and diplomacy are tools in the toolbox of security and foreign policy).
The public needs to be informed and should be encouraged to constructively discuss it.