According to Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Russia had a plan to execute its troops in Ukraine to torture, rape, and execute civilians who refused to surrender.
Iryna Venediktova stated that, as a Ukrainian citizen, she understands why US President Joe Biden has accused Vladimir Putin’s forces with genocide in her country. However, as a prosecutor, she said she had to gather evidence in areas such as Mariupol.
Sky News interviewed her in Kyiv, Ukraine to discuss the possibility of giving evidence.
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According to the prosecutor general, there are “huge numbers” of Russian troops who have killed Ukrainians because they don’t like them.
Her team works on nearly 8,000 cases of war crimes from Ukraine, including sexual violence, summary executions, and forced deportation.
As evidence grows, so does the number of cases.
The prosecutor general stated that her team had information about more than 1,000 civilians killed in the Kyiv region, where Russian forces held a number of villages and towns before withdrawing. However, this number could be much higher.
Many of the victims were shot to death.
When asked if she believed that Russia had pre-planned the execution-style shooting of civilians, Ms Venediktova replied: “I believe it is a strategy by their chief of commander because we see similar strategies in other countries.
They have Plan A: Cities should capitulate. If a city doesn’t capitulate it means Plan C: To scare the population to the max. You can kill, rape, or torture people.
It is a strategy for war.
She also stated that there was evidence of malice leading towards murder.
Her investigators obtained information about Russian soldiers confronting a father, mother, and two daughters in one case.
The mother and one of the daughters escaped. However, the soldiers killed the second, 41-year-old daughter and held the father in prison for a week, blindfolded, in his basement.
He repeatedly asked his captors why they had killed his daughter. Ms Venediktova replied.
Finally, a soldier replied by saying that “She was wearing Black.” I don’t like black.”
According to the prosecutor general, “This is why they killed someone.”
“We have many such cases that they killed people for such reasons – they don’t like them.”
She is concerned about the possibility of more brutality in areas that are still occupied or partially occupied – Mariupol being one example.
Since the beginning of the war, Russian forces have been bombarding and besieging the port city in southeast Ukraine. This makes it difficult for war crime investigators to collect evidence.
When asked if Russia’s actions in Ukraine amount to genocide she replied: “As Ukrainian citizen, I understand very well when our politicians talk about genocide. It’s true, and it’s an enormous, terrible aggression against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people
“But I as a prosecutor should have access Mariupol. All evidence should be available to me so that I can speak and can categorize these crimes as genocide.
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According to her, the number one priority of Ukraine’s prosecutors was to ensure that Mr Putin is brought before the courts in order to face justice.
“We all know who is responsible for this war… The president of Russia Federation. This is his plan to destroy the Ukrainian nation. No one else can do it.”