War against Ukraine: That's the situation
After the defeat of Russia's occupying forces in the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy speaks of widespread torture and other "Nazi" methods. The news at a glance.
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared the actions of the Russian occupiers in his country with the Nazi atrocities of World War II. There is cruel torture, deportations, burned cities, bottomless hatred and nothing alive anymore under Russian occupation, Zelenskyj said in a video message. Unlike the Nazis, the Russians wouldn't make soap from the killed Ukrainians - and they wouldn't make lampshades from their skin. "But the principle is the same," said the head of state after more than six months of war.
Zelenskyy called the occupiers who fled the Kharkiv region a week ago "racists" and said that the "Nazis" behaved in the same way. "Racism" unites the words Russia and fascism and is used by many Ukrainians as a term for "Russian fascism". Like the "Nazis," the "racists" would be held accountable for their actions on the battlefield and in court, Zelensky said.
"We will determine the identities of everyone who tortured and mistreated, who brought these atrocities from Russia here to Ukrainian territory," emphasized the 44-year-old. When they fled, the occupiers left torture devices behind. Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities released photos purporting to show torture chambers and equipment. More than ten torture chambers have now been discovered in different cities of the Kharkiv Liberated Oblast, he said. "torture was a widespread practice in the occupied territory."
Investigation of possible war crimes in the Ukraine required
According to Zelenskyj, people were tortured with wires and electric shocks. For example, a torture room with electric torture tools was discovered at a train station in Kosatscha Lopan. Also with the ones in a forest near the city Izyum found corpses had been secured new evidence of torture. The exhumation of the dead at the "mass grave site" continued on Saturday, Zelensky said.
Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht called for the investigation of possible war crimes. "These terrible crimes must be clarified - ideally by the United Nations," said the SPD politician to the newspapers of the Funke media group. The UN should be given access as soon as possible so that evidence could be secured. "Those responsible for war crimes must be brought to justice."
More than 440 graves with corpses have been found in Izyum. According to initial findings, people are said to have died when Russia fired heavily on the city at the end of March.
At the end of March, hundreds of dead civilians - some with signs of torture and their hands tied - were also found in the Kiev suburb of Bucha after the withdrawal of Russian troops. Since then, Bucha has been considered a symbol of the most serious war crimes in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
Selenskyj announces liberation of all occupied territories
In his video Zelenskyy announced that in addition to the investigative work to solve Russian crimes in the Kharkiv region, normal life should return. People should get food, medicine, electricity and their pensions. Public transport should also be restored. Zelenskyy admitted that there are currently no "significant changes in the situation" at the front. At the same time, however, he emphasized that all occupied territories would be liberated - and that Russia had no chance.
The Cherson, Luhansk, Donetsk areas, including the city of Mariupol there, but also Bedyansk in the Zaporizhia region and the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia had annexed in 2014, were to be liberated. Zelenskyy emphasized that the Ukrainian flag will be flying everywhere again. "But we still need time for that." Above all, Ukraine is relying on Western heavy weapons to force the Russian occupiers out of the country.
NATO military: Western military aid makes a real difference
The chairman of the NATO military committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, sees Western military aid and the warfare of the Ukrainian military as decisive factors for Kiev's recent successes. "The ammunition, equipment and training provided by allies and other nations make a real difference on the battlefield," said the Dutchman in Estonia's capital, Tallinn, where the committee, which includes the chiefs of staff from the 30 member states, met.
The Ukrainian army had recently recaptured territory occupied by Russian forces in a counter-offensive in the east of the country. According to Bauer, the chiefs of staff discussed at their two-day conference how the allies' support for Ukraine "can be maintained and expanded". "NATO will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. Winter is coming, but support should remain steadfast," he said.
The NATO Military Committee advises the North Atlantic Council, NATO's highest political body, on military issues. One focus of the conference in Tallinn was the implementation of the resolutions of the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June. The defense chiefs of Finland and Sweden attended the conference as guests for the first time. The two Nordic EU countries had applied to be included in the defense alliance after Russia's attack on Ukraine.
What is important today
In the liberated eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, Ukrainian investigators want to continue to secure evidence of war crimes after the withdrawal of Moscow's armed forces. In the forest near the city of Izyum, the exhumation of the bodies continues. The identity of the people and the cause of death are to be clarified. In addition, the debate continues about deliveries of German battle tanks to Ukraine, for example. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) rejects this.