Open wounds of the Russian-Ukrainian war: Ukrainian victims will share their stories in Milan

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Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian and international human rights organizations have documented numerous cases of grave international crimes in the territories of Ukraine fallen under the Russian control, including extrajudicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and incommunicado detentions.

Civilians are massively detained, abducted and some killed by the Russian military when they aiming at: “replenishing” its “exchange fund”; encouraging civilians to cooperate with the Russian military; punishing for active position of citizens and communication with representatives of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as for checking the loyalty to the occupation authorities and for so-called “filtration”. Despite these crimes have become widespread and systematic, the Russian Federation does not investigate them. On the contrary, the Russian state media and officials publicly justify violations of international humanitarian law.

On the 6th of October  2022 Ukrainian human rights organisations ZMINA and Media Initiative for Human Rights are conducting the panel on torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings during the Russian armed aggression in Ukraine. The event will be held in the see of “Italia X Ucraina Terra Libera” the largest Ukrainian contemporary art exhibition of 2022 in Milan, Italy at 6 October from 17:00 to 19.00(CET).

The key speakers:

  • Tatiana Katrychenko, coordinator of the Media Initiative for Human Rights;
  • Natalia Ohotnikova, researcher of the Human Rights Centre ZMINA;
  • Olena Tsyhipa, wife of the abducted activist from Nova Kakhovka (Kherson region) Sergiy Tsyhipa;
  • Olena Buzinova, mother of Mykyta Buzinov, abducted near Chernihiv.

The event is aimed to illuminate the main patterns and trends of violations, as well as current challenges in the context of documenting violations and effectively helping victims. The patterns of the following human rights violations will be discussed:

  • Enforced disappearances: the pattern of abductions has been documented in all regions of Ukraine that were or are under Russian control. Activists and volunteers, local self-government officials, educators, relatives of Ukrainian service members, veterans, local entrepreneurs and other people who actively express their position are at particular risk of enforced disappearance. Abducted Ukrainians are being held in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, in detention facilities in Bryansk, Belgorod, Kursk, Rostov, and Ryazan regions of Russia completely incommunicado.
  • Extrajudicial executions and torture: torture of Ukrainian civilians in administrative buildings, police stations, penal colonies, and other places of detention under Russian control have been widely reported. The civilian victims of these crimes are real or perceived critical voices such as representatives of the local governments, civil activists, and journalists, as well as ordinary civilians, who were not involved in any armed hostilities or resistance to the Russian army. Cases of enforced disappearances and torture of those who did not pass the filtration procedure have been documented. There are also cases of extrajudicial killings of civilians after they have been subjected to enforced disappearances.
  • Crimes against prisoners of war: Along with civilian victims, human rights organizations have verified numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war. The Russian Federation prevents documentation of these cases and assistance to victims through denial of access to them by international organizations.