On the OSCE’s claims of Russian war crimes

Updated with this new (below) tweet

A report is circulating, alleging Russian war crimes in Ukraine. I’ll start by saying I’ve only skimmed the report as I’m in the DPR at the moment and don’t want to waste time reading what I already know to be lies based on dubious sources, much as the UN did in Syria [see: Guilty until proven innocent (again): UN report on alleged Russian ‘war crimes’ in Syria is based on]

However, given that in the OSCE office in Mariupol allegedly contained documents on Ukrainian war crimes that the OSCE didn’t report, it this is indeed true, I’d say their impartiality is compromised and thus this report reads like propaganda for Ukraine.

I know from personal experience in 2019 visiting frontline areas around Gorlovka being shelled every night by Ukrainian forces, locals felt the OSCE wasn’t doing their job, wasn’t reporting honestly on Ukraine’s consistent violations of Minsk by firing heavy weapons on residential homes.

Further, there are accusations that the OSCE is working with Ukraine, not as an impartial body, but specifically that it conducted reconnaissance for Ukraine and provided firing coordinates for Ukraine to target DPR & Russian forces.

There are countless testimonies from Mariupol of abuse at the hands of Ukrainian and Nazi forces. I don’t speak Russian but others do and have diligently taken such testimonies, like Maxim Grigoriev, Patrick Lancaster.

What I saw when I went to Mariupol on April 21 and 22 was yes, destruction of residential areas, but precisely because Ukrainian forces embedded in them, rendering them military targets, particularly when they fired from those buildings at Russian & DPR forces. Ukrainian civilians were used as human shields, bunkering in basements in terrible conditions.

I saw the Russian military distributing humanitarian aid, and saw that likewise weeks prior in Volnovakha. In that town, a chief physician of the badly damaged hospital testified that Ukrainian forces had occupied the hospital, brought weapons inside it, and mined the ICU before retreating. These are tactics I’ve seen over & over in Syria, when terrorists retreated from areas they occupied: they left booby traps & mines to cause further destruction and death. [See: Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution” and my article on the village of Madaya after its liberation from terrorists.]

[Read: They Saw and Heard the Truth — Then Lied About It: Media on Donbass Delegation Omitted Mention of Ukraine’s 8 Year War on the Autonomous Republics ]

The allegations and incidents the OSCE says it has not been able to verify might include the allegations of a mass grave west of Mariupol, in the town of Mangush.

That mass grave doesn’t exist. I personally recently went there and saw an ordered cemetery of new graves numbering at most 400, around 100 of which were empty. I spoke to two men responsible for digging graves & burying bodies. The attested that bodies were buried in coffins in single graves, like a normal cemetery.

The claims of mass graves spread by corporate media without question were based on the runaway Mayor who is not in Mariupol.

On the other hand, there is ample documentation of Ukraine’s crimes against the people of the Donbass republics over the last eight years, as well as against its own citizens in Ukraine.

Finally, the issue of legality of Russia’s military operation has been addressed by people with legal backgrounds, including more recently Dan Kovalik, who wrote:

“One must begin this discussion by accepting the fact that there was already a war happening in Ukraine for the eight years preceding the Russian military incursion in February 2022. And, this war by the government in Kiev against the Russian-speaking peoples of the Donbass – a war which claimed the lives of around 14,000 people, many of them children, and displaced around 1.5 million more even before Russia’s military operation – has been arguably genocidal. That is, the government in Kiev, and especially its neo-Nazi battalions, carried out attacks against these peoples with the intention of destroying, at least in part, the ethnic Russians precisely because of their ethnicity.

…Moreover, as the Organization of World Peace reported in 2021, “according to Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Decree no. 117/2021, Ukraine has committed to putting all options on the table to taking back control over the Russian annexed Crimea region. Signed on March 24th, President Zelensky has committed the country to pursue strategies that . . . ‘will prepare and implement measures to ensure the de-occupation and reintegration of the peninsula.’”

Given that the residents of Crimea, most of whom are ethnic Russians, are quite happy with the current state of affairs under Russian governance – this, according to a 2020 Washington Post report – Zelensky’s threat in this regard was not only a threat against Russia itself but was also a threat of potentially massive bloodshed against a people who do not want to go back to Ukraine.

Without more, this situation represents a much more compelling case for justifying Russian intervention under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine which has been advocated by such Western ‘humanitarians’ as Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice, and which was relied upon to justify the NATO interventions in countries like the former Yugoslavia and Libya. And moreover, none of the states involved in these interventions could possibly make any claims of self-defense. This is especially the case for the United States, which has been sending forces thousands of miles away to drop bombs on far-flung lands.

…there is more to consider regarding Russia’s claimed justifications for intervention. Thus, not only are there radical groups on its border attacking ethnic Russians, including Russian citizens, but also, these groups have reportedly been funded and trained by the United States with the very intention of destabilizing and undermining the territorial integrity of Russia itself.

As Yahoo News! explained in a January 2022 article:

“The CIA is overseeing a secret intensive training program in the U.S. for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel, according to five former intelligence and national security officials familiar with the initiative. The program, which started in 2015, is based at an undisclosed facility in the Southern U.S., according to some of those officials.

The program has involved ‘very specific training on skills that would enhance’ the Ukrainians’ ‘ability to push back against the Russians,’ said the former senior intelligence official.

The training, which has included ‘tactical stuff,’ is ‘going to start looking pretty offensive if Russians invade Ukraine,’ said the former official.

One person familiar with the program put it more bluntly. ‘The United States is training an insurgency,’ said a former CIA official, adding that the program has taught the Ukrainians how ‘to kill Russians.’”

To remove any doubt that the destabilization of Russia itself has been the goal of the US in these efforts, one should examine the very telling 2019 report of the Rand Corporation – a long-time defense contractor called upon to advise the US on how to carry out its policy goals. In this report, entitled, ‘Overextending and Unbalancing Russia, Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options’, one of the many tactics listed is “Providing lethal aid to Ukraine” in order to “exploit Russia’s greatest point of external vulnerability.”

In short, there is no doubt that Russia has been threatened, and in a quite profound way, with concrete destabilizing efforts by the US, NATO and their extremist surrogates in Ukraine. Russia has been so threatened for a full eight years. And Russia has witnessed what such destabilizing efforts have meant for other countries, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria to Libya – that is, nearly a total annihilation of the country as a functioning nation-state.

It is hard to conceive of a more pressing case for the need to act in defense of the nation. While the UN Charter prohibits unilateral acts of war, it also provides, in Article 51, that “[n]othing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense… ” And this right of self-defense has been interpreted to permit countries to respond, not only to actual armed attacks, but also to the threat of imminent attack.

In light of the above, it is my assessment that this right has been triggered in the instant case, and that Russia had a right to act in its own self-defense by intervening in Ukraine, which had become a proxy of the US and NATO for an assault – not only on Russian ethnics within Ukraine – but also upon Russia itself. A contrary conclusion would simply ignore the dire realities facing Russia.”

Likewise, international criminal lawyer Christopher Black wrote:

“In my opinion Russia acted in accordance with international law under Article 51 of the UN Charter for the following reasons;

First, the Kiev regime was mounting a major offensive with NATO’s help against the Donbass Republics with the intent of destroying them. Intensive shelling had already begun days before Russia acted, the shelling of civilian buildings and infrastructure, which resulted in scores of thousands of civilians fleeing into Russia. During that period the Kiev regime also attempted to assassinate a leader of the Republics with a car bomb. Russia had no choice but to protect the Donbass peoples and since the Security Council could do nothing, and the EU and NATO were supporting the Kiev offensive against the Donbass, Russia was the only nation that could act.

The request for military assistance from the Donbass Republics also compelled Russia to send in its forces to help push back the Kiev forces from the territories of the Republics.

Second, Russia itself had been attacked multiple times by Kiev regime forces. Saboteurs were sent into Crimea time and again to carry out raids, assassinate officials, to destroy infrastructure. They even cut Crimea’s water supply, a crime against humanity. Just a few days before Russia acted a Kiev reconnaissance unit invaded Russia but was detected and destroyed. Russia had every right under The Caroline Doctrine to go after the attackers and to prevent further attacks.

…In this case the threat was more than imminent. It was on-going and increasing. The only effective and proportional defensive response was to destroy the offensive forces being deployed. These forces include not only Kiev regime government forces but also the nationalist, Nazi brigades supporting and spearheading the Kiev offensive and all the NATO equipment being supplied to them to conduct the Kiev offensive.

Thirdly, the deeper issue was the imminent threat to Russia from NATO posed by its continuous expansion to the east, its continuous build up of forces and offensive structure pointed at Russia and the completion this September of the American missile systems in Poland, Romania and Ukraine which could then be used to launch a nuclear attack against Russia.

We remember that in the past few months the NATO nations have conducted military exercises that included practicing launching nuclear attacks on Russia. We also remember that the USA has a first strike nuclear war policy, claiming the right to use nuclear weapons wherever and whenever they deem fit. It was evident that they were practising attacks because that was and is their intention.

Russia demanded the Americans withdraw those systems, and to withdraw NATO from Eastern Europe. They flatly refused. Ukraine talked of acquiring nuclear weapons and threatening Russia with them. It would take time for them to manufacture but there was nothing to stop the Americans from giving them nuclear weapons, under their control, as the Americans have done with Germany, for instance.

Russia could do nothing, keep the peace, and watch, as the weapons for its destruction were installed and made ready to fire; to commit suicide in other words, or it could defend itself. It warned the US that it would do so, and had the right to do so, the same right the Americans always claim to have, but again Russia was ignored. It had to act or face destruction and subjugation.

We remember that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, the Americans threatened to invade Cuba and to attack the USSR because nuclear missiles had been placed in Cuba to protect it against American aggression. President Kennedy established the precedent principle that when a nation feels its existence is at stake from nuclear weapons it has the right to use force to protect itself pre-emptively. Russia is acting on the same principle.

Lastly, the NATO powers have lately relied on their bogus legal doctrine of “responsibility to protect” that they invented after the fact to try to justify their aggression against Yugoslavia. No such doctrine exists in international law but they claim the right to use it nevertheless. It applies, according to them, when a military action is justified, though illegal, “for legitimate humanitarian reasons.’ They were warned that this false doctrine could be turned against them. Russia has not referred to it at all, but if NATO can rely on it for their wars of aggression, then surely Russia can rely on it to justify their military action to defend the Donbass, and themselves.

When one takes account of all the factors that governed the Russian decision to send its forces into Ukraine it is clear that in law they had the legal right to do so whereas the United States continues its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and Syria to this day and the NATO media powers and governments say nothing, because they are all complicit in those invasions.

If the United States and the NATO alliance had complied with international law in the first place as set out in the UN Charter, the world would not be in this mess. They caused this, not Russia. The responsibility is entirely theirs and they will be judged for it.”

RELATED:

Ukrainian War Crimes & Human Rights Violations (2017-2020)

“Ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Ukraine”

Many of the participants of this meeting praised the ICC, which is interesting since at least two of the co-sponsors of today’s meeting – the US and the UK – did everything imaginable to shield their own military from the ICC’s reach. Both countries developed protective legislation. American law went so far that it was nicknamed among Western legal professionals as the “Hague invasion act”. Political pressure, financial leverage and even imposing personal sanctions on the ICC prosecutor – all this led to the desired outcome: investigations into war crimes committed by soldiers of these countries in Iraq and Afghanistan were “de-prioritized” by ICC. This is a rather sophisticated term for a simple thing, namely, “not doing anything”. This perfectly illustrates both the real degree of ICC’s “impartiality and objectivity” as well as hypocrisy of US and UK who all of a sudden started to support the Court and pour millions of dollars there as “donations”. Such an attitude turns justice into farce: paid-for verdicts by paid-for Court.

International perception of ICC’s role and stance was well demonstrated by Ukraine. Its declaration on acceptance of its jurisdiction dated 8 September 2015 represents an ill-famous attempt not only to limit the Court’s jurisdiction, but also to assign the blame in advance – before a formal investigation even started. Like we said – ICC is a merely political instrument and has nothing in common with justice.

In light of today’s remarks of the High Commissioner for Human Rights we would like to note that it has become a tradition for various fact-finding missions established by OHCHR to conduct their business without physical presence in the respective country. In this regard, their methods of work presuppose reliance on information provided by NGOs as well as available in the open domain – i.e. in the Internet. When working in this manner, it is literally impossible to distinguish between the truth and myriads of fakes. We would be hesitant to draw any conclusions based on information of that quality.

Today we also heard about the role of NGOs and civil society. This role has indeed been very prominent – the West mobilized a real fake-news factory to produce new lies 24/7 to create a parallel reality of what is happening in Ukraine. All of the fakes mentioned today were refuted multiple times.

By the way, Bucha provocation got a new twist: according to “The Guardian” most victims were not “cold-bloodedly shot” as it had been claimed for at least 3 weeks already but rather killed by artillery anti-personnel shells filled with small darts, called flechettes (French word that stands for a “small arrow”)It is the same type that Ukraine has been using to bombard Donbass since 2014. There is a lot of evidence about that on the Internet. It seems that Western media will have to forget the word “Bucha” just as quickly as they forgot and banned the word “Kramatorsk”. It was another prominent fake – everyone from day 1 had been confidently blaming Russia for a missile strike on a railway station killing 50 and injuring 100 civilians until the serial number of the missile surfaced in social networks, identifying it beyond any doubt as Ukrainian, used by the same military unit that bombarded civilian targets in Donbass. Anyone is raising the issue about Ukraine’s accountability for Kramatorsk now? Any NGOs or civil society or mainstream media? Complete and shameful or rather shameless silence. And so we thought.

What we heard today was another portion of unsubstantiated claims and even fakes seasoned with lies, hypocrisy and pompous rhetoric. If you want to learn the truth about real situation on the ground – come to our “Arria-formula” meeting on May 6 – we plan to give the floor to some independent voices, working on the frontline to demonstrate you facts, not fakes.

Lastly, I would like to stress: the flow of fake news will not shield Ukrainian Neo-Nazis, foreign mercenaries and their sponsors from accountability for heinous crimes. Multiple witness statements and evidence to that effect are being collected right now across Ukraine, including in Mariupol.

Witnesses confirm i.a. routine military use by Ukrainian military and nationalist battalions of schools and even kindergartens, as well as other civilian objects. Ukrainian military are not ashamed to do that. They post photos of their military positions online. I used to collect such posts as evidence but stopped doing this because they were way too numerous and just keep coming. Ukrainian military and nationalist battalions also routinely use civilians as a human shield – to the extent comparable only to ISIL’s tactics. But here it is even worse, because Ukrainian military are doing that to their compatriots.

Yes, torture centers in 21st century are truly unthinkable. But there is a lot of factual evidence, as well as witness statements about an SBU-operated secret torture center in the Mariupol airport. It was cynically named “the library”. It was created in 2014, when Azov battalion moved into Mariupol. This specific center was used to torture, rape, and kill “the books” – that is how neo-Nazis called prisoners there – ordinary civilians suspected of not being loyal to the Kiev regime. Rest assured, perpetrators of these and all other heinous crimes will be brought to justice. None will escape personal responsibility. Denazification of Ukraine will be completed.

Accused of Treason and Imprisoned Without Trial: Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky Recounts His Harrowing Time in a Ukrainian Prison

I’m on a ‘hit list’ Kiev allows to silence dissent & journalism. That’s all you need to know about Ukrainian ‘democracy’

In the line of fire: Journalists killed and abducted in Eastern Ukraine (as of 2014)

As human rights organizations call for an end to repression against the press in Eastern Ukraine, RT recalls the journalists who were abducted, tortured or paid the ultimate price and lost their lives while reporting from the heart of the civil war.

Eastern Ukraine has been dubbed a “trap for journalists” by Human Rights Watch’s representative in Russia as the deepening crisis has already taken the lives of six journalists since the beginning of the year.

Many more journalists have been abducted, interrogated and even tortured while caught in the crossfire in the fighting between the Ukraine Army and the militia forces of southeastern Ukraine.

RT takes a look at some of the deadliest and most brutal incidents.

Igor Kornelyuk, Anton Voloshin (Russia) – killed

Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin both worked for Rossiya TV channel. On June 17, Kornelyuk, a correspondent for Vesti, and Voloshin, a video engineer, were killed during a mortar shelling of the Metallist and Mirnoye villages near Lugansk.

They were the first Russian journalists to have died in the line of duty in Ukraine since the coup in Kiev and the beginning of civil unrest in the eastern regions.

Anatoly Klyan (Russia) – killed

On June 30, a cameraman from Russia’s Channel One television, Anatoly Klyan, was killed by law enforcement agencies in the eastern city of Donetsk. Klyan, along with a few other journalists, boarded a bus full of women – mostly mothers – who were traveling to a military base in Donetsk to demand the disbandment of a military unit where their sons had been recruited to serve. He was wounded in the stomach as the bus was shelled and died on the way to the hospital.

Andrea Rocchelli (Italy) with interpreter Andrey Mironov (Russia) – killed

Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli was hit along with his interpreter, Andrey Mironov, by Kiev’s mortar fire near the village of Andreevka, a couple of kilometers from Slavyansk, on May 25. Rocchelli was covering the ongoing conflict ahead of the snap presidential elections.

Andrey Stenin (Russia) -killed

On August 5, Rossiya Segodnya (formerly RIA Novosti) news agency received photo-journalist Andrey Stenin’s last report before he went missing. He reported from the center of the Ukrainian crisis, beginning with Kiev’s Maidan protests in November following onto the horrors of Odessa, then in the Crimea, and most lately, the fierce fighting in parts of east Ukraine.

[see: Remembering Andrei Stenin, a Russian Photojournalist Killed in eastern Ukraine ]

Evgeny Davydov, Nikita Konashenkov (Russia) – abducted, tortured

Russian journalists Evgeny Davydov and Nikita Konashenkov, working for working for Zvezda TV channel, were captured by Kiev’s forces on June 14 while on their way to the airport in Dnepropetrovsk, heading back home. They were interrogated and tortured by the Right Sector group, as they described their abductors, for two days. The journalists said that along with constant intimidation, interrogations and beatings, they received several death threats from their captors.

Oleg Sidyakin, Marat Saichenko (Russia) – abducted, tortured

On May 18, two journalists from Russia’s LifeNews, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, were detained near Kramatorsk by Kiev’s forces. The Ukrainian authorities accused them of assisting “terrorism” in the east of the country while a video of the two was released showing them with their hands tied, kneeling on the ground. The journalists were released after a week.

On May 18, two journalists from Russia’s LifeNews, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, were detained near Kramatorsk by Kiev’s forces. The Ukrainian authorities accused them of assisting “terrorism” in the east of the country while a video of the two was released showing them with their hands tied, kneeling on the ground. The journalists were released after a week.

15 thoughts on “On the OSCE’s claims of Russian war crimes

  1. Hello Eva,

    Great work again.
    Wondering if you ever post on Gab.com? I’ve tried to find you but….
    In my opinion, it’s a great free speech platform

    Thanks for all you do. Keep up the great work.

  2. This article is incredibly informative. Try as I do to get true reports about the war in Ukraine, I have not learned some of this elsewhere. I will share it as much as possible.

  3. Great compendium, Eva. I’ve seen PL’s videos before, but many of your readers would not know him. Keep up the good work!

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