A recent UN-backed inquiry has stated that Russia has committed a range of war crimes in Ukraine, where its actions amount to crimes against humanity.
The inquiry highlighted that many of these actions – primarily the systematic torture and killing of civilians in occupied areas, as well as repeated attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure that left hundreds of thousands without heat and electricity during the winter – had been ongoing for many months.
It is believed that these crimes were committed with the possible intention of humiliating, intimidating and punishing the population of Ukraine.
Quoting from the Independent, the inquiry found that "some acts may amount to crimes against humanity".
Furthermore, "there were elements of planning and availability of resources which indicate that the Russian authorities may have committed torture as crimes against humanity," said Erik Møse, a former judge with the Norwegian Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights who led the investigation.
In reports from the New York Post and The Hill, the report is described as a highly unusual condemnation of a member of the UN Security Council.
The Independent and Al Jazeera reported that the inquiry also found further alleged abuses carried out by Russia, such as the deportation of Ukrainian children from areas it controls, a "filtration" system aimed at singling out Ukrainians for detention, and torture and inhumane detention conditions.
Based on over 500 interviews, as well as satellite images and visits to detention sites and graves, the report found that around 16,000 children have been unlawfully transferred and deported from Ukraine, with Russia denying that this was the case.
While many of the abuses noted were public knowledge, according to the NY Post, the findings could bolster efforts to prosecute those who committed the atrocities either at the International Criminal Court or individual countries' judiciaries.
The report adds to the ongoing international pressure on Moscow regarding its actions in Ukraine since the conflict began in February 2022.