The ZMINA journalist, together with volunteers Andriy and Roman from the Lion's Heart military volunteer association, managed to get to Vuhledar, which was burned by Russian shelling, and saw with her own eyes how this point of invincibility was being equipped
Olha and Svitlana told ZMINA about how Russian occupying forces took prisoners, hastily prepared new cells for them, and held civilian hostages on the occupied left bank of the Kherson region
Consideration of protocols on administrative offense for 'discrediting the Russian army's actions' in the illegal "courts" on the Crimean Peninsula is connected with systemic violations of main standards of access to fair justice, the Crimean Process claimed
Russia holds prisoners of war and civilians in an extensive network of prisons inside the country and the occupied territories of Ukraine.
For over a year and a half of full-scale Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thousands of Ukrainians have gone missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, in artificially flooded areas, and Russian prisons. It is still not known precisely how many people have disappeared due to the war unleashed by Russia. According to the register of missing persons under special circumstances overseen by the Commissioner for Missing Persons of Ukraine under the auspices of the Ombudsman’s Office, the number of such persons is at least 25,000. The fate of at least 7,000 is still unknown.
Russian occupying forces took 73-year-old Viktor Illinsky from his home in Balakliya, Kharkiv region, in early August 2022. They wrapped a jacket around his head, put him in a military jeep, and drove him to the local police station.
During the war, Russian occupying forces abducted and held in prisons not only Ukrainian men but also women, regardless of age and status. Women are also subjected to torture, intimidation, and horrific conditions. They are accused of terrorism, adjusting fire, and collaborating with the Ukrainian armed forces.
After the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, information began to emerge about the transfer of children by Russian occupying forces from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The children were taken to the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, or the territories of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation before February 24, 2022, namely, parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk region and Crimea.
At different times, at least 30 local women were held at a temporary detention center (TDC) in Kherson, including a policewoman, a housewife, a cadet of a military educational institution, and a head teacher of a gymnasium. This is described in the analytical report "‘Women's cells’ of Kherson torture chamber" which was prepared by Human Rights Centre ZMINA specialists based on testimonies of victims.
Tetyana Pechonchyk emphasized the importance of publicizing information about political prisoners. In her opinion, it is essential to tell the stories of illegally imprisoned Ukrainian citizens, spread them on social media and abroad, put pressure on Russia, initiate new resolutions of the European Parliament, and raise issues at the level of the OSCE and UN bodies so that Ukrainian citizens, political prisoners at risk with complex diseases, are released first and unconditionally
The claim that the information component of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is almost as dangerous as its weaponry has been debated since 2014 when Russia occupied Crimea in the South and parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the East. However, Russian forces began disseminating its propagandistic narratives among Ukrainians long before the open confrontation through its “friendly” visits, books, radio, and television.
In the interview with ZMINA Andriukaitis shared his impressions of documentaries during Docudays UA Festival and told how Lithuania perceives Russia's war against Ukraine, and explained why Vladimir Putin tried to persuade European political elites for a long time that there is what he defines as a ‘special democracy’ in the Russian Federation
Yevhen Yamkovyi, a resident of Kahovka, a city in the Kherson region on the left bank of the Dnipro river occupied by Russian forces, was detained at the checkpoint “Armyansk” in the northern part of the Crimean peninsula on January 6, 2023. Then, he was transferred to the pre-trial detention center No. 2 in Simferopol, where he met Oleksandr Babych, a mayor of the city Hola Prystan’, Yevhen Melnychuk, a Crimean resident, and Mariano Calatayud, a volunteer from Spain. In prison, he discovered that the Spaniard was tortured with an electric current, and the official was threatened with shooting. On March 7, 2023, Yevgen was released and left the occupied Crimea for Poland.
Serhii, a resident of the Kherson region, was kidnapped from his home on August 3, 2022. At that time, the Southern part of Ukraine, located on both banks of the Dnipro River, had been under the control of the Russian occupying forces for almost five months. At first, the man was kept at the commandant’s office of Nova Kakhovka, a small city on the left bank of the Dnipro River, for some time. Then, Sergii was transferred approximately 50 km East to the former police station of the village of Hornostaivka. While in detention, the Russian occupying forces tried to persuade Serhii to collaborate and point to weapons caches. He refused. On December 22 of last year, Serhii was finally released with a few other civilians.
ZMINA Human Rights Center collected evidence of how Ukrainians were kidnapped, interrogated, and tortured en masse by Russian occupying forces during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to human rights defenders, the Russian military treats the entire population of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine as a threat. Torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of civilians is a part of the comprehensive policy of suppressing any resistance to the Russian invasion.
ZMINA discusses below one form of political persecution in the temporarily occupied territories, which includes cases related to the Noman Çelebicihan Crimean Tatar Volunteer Battalion
We were lucky, because not all people were missed by shells and not all returned alive. More than a year has passed since the day we escaped from occupied Mariupol
On February 25, a few hours before the Russian tanks entered the city, we left Bucha and spent 40 hours on the road, heading towards the western Ukraine. We spent three months in the small town of Perechyn, and in June, after the de-occupation of Bucha, we returned to our hometown. A Russian shell hit between the eighth and ninth floors of our house, and our apartment, fortunately, remained intact
Javier Maroto noted that Western democracies are also suffering from the attacks of Putin's regime, in particular from disinformation spread by Russia. He also stressed the importance of political unity in supporting Ukraine outside the EU, as Russian propaganda has a great influence in other countries
We must stand with Ukraine until its total victory. That must be very clear to everyone: no semi-peace or other kind of settlements but a victory with regained occupied territories with Zelensky's Peace Formula.
Denis Zvizdić in his speech mentioned the experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country that also faced aggression just 40 years ago. The whole world sees the struggle of Ukraine and Denis Zvizdić is proud of his country’s support. He is certain that the world must condemn every attack by any internationally recognized state everywhere
At the beginning of her speech, Annita Demetriou emphasized that Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine and its attempts to annex Ukrainian territory cannot be legitimized or justified
Expert at International Crimea Platform, Expert on Foreign and Security Policy, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Strategic Black Sea Studies Olexandr Khara expressed his gratitude to all the nations taking part in this summit and for their support of Ukraine
All foreigners or stateless persons who have settled in the occupied Crimea and other temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine have deliberately committed a crime and must immediately leave Crimea, Refat Chubarov says
Today, we talk a lot about Ukraine’s postwar reconstruction and development. However, the focus is mostly on physical rebuilding. I think this is wrong because that’s not what it is all about. If we focus on the physical restoration of destroyed buildings and infrastructure, this country will not stand a chance against Russian pressure or any other reality that will emerge in its place.
The artist and Kremlin political prisoner Bogdan Ziza received 15 years of imprisonment by a Russian court for splashing a door of the municipality with blue and yellow paint in Yevpatoria, a city in the Western part of occupied Crimea. On June 10, he began a hunger strike.
Since the outbreak of a full-scale war, Russia has ramped up its repression against Ukrainian citizens. Russian authorities are continuing to illegally detain Ukrainians and file politically motivated charges against them in order to get Ukraine to make concessions.
On Sunday, December 3, activists of the Feminist Workshop, a Lviv-based non-profit group, took to the streets of the city to draw attention to the problem of violence against women. Their posters featured sayings from Ukrainian folklore that referred to the acceptability of violence and the devaluation of women. Activists called for the violence against women to remain only in legend, as reported on the group’s social media.
Ukrenergo, Ukraine's national energy company, reported that all 20 diesel generators were automatically activated, with eight of them remaining in operation
Zaporozhets pleaded not guilty to the charges. Refusing trial under the Criminal Code, he asserted that as a soldier, he should be tried under the Geneva Convention
When Nestle announced the suspension of exports and imports to Russia, except for “essential and basic goods for the local people,” it gave the mistaken impression that it planned to leave, according to Oleksandr Novikov, the head of the corruption prevention agency
Crimea SOS emphasizes that Russian judges and illegal “judges” in the temporarily occupied Crimea shall be held liable for the abovementioned violations within the Ukrainian jurisdiction, the International Criminal Court or under the mechanism of universal jurisdiction and shall be subjected to personal sanctions
Serhii Marchenko is sure that the reason for what is happening in the Middle East is also due to the international community's insufficient response to Russia's war against Ukraine
At the end of the plenary session, a Joint Declaration was signed by the participants of the summit, affirming the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as assurance of the sovereignty of Ukraine as necessary preconditions for ending the war and establishing lasting peace in the region
Asiamah Amoako pointed out that the Russian war against Ukraine and the occupation of Ukrainian territories has brought "untold hardships, including even hunger," to other parts of the world, including his country
Russia has systematically targeted Ukraine's grain and port infrastructure since withdrawing from the agreement that allowed Kyiv to export its grain, which is crucial for global food security
The Ukrainian president pointed out that every Russian strike, especially ones as audacious as those targeting nuclear plants and other critical facilities, is an argument that the pressure on the terrorist state is insufficient
The Mufti of Crimea and Chairman of the Religious Administration of Muslims in Crimea, Aider Rustemov, declared that Russia is systematically oppressing the Crimean Tatar people in the temporarily occupied peninsula
Experts called on the international community to take action to bring the Wagner Group to justice and support democratic forces in African countries where the Wagnerites operate
Klishch emphasized the importance of implementing an exclusively Ukrainian formula for peace, as only Ukraine has the right to determine the conditions for ending the war. He believes that reevaluation of many aspects of the international order is inevitable to ensure the interaction of security and development
Ambassador-at-large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Anton Korynevych stresses the need to join forces to demonstrate that dictatorial regimes are responsible for their crimes, and thus, together with international partners, the world needs to prevent future conflicts and wars
Secretary of the Committee on Fuel Energy, Nuclear Policies and Security at International Center for Ukrainian Victory (ICUV) Viktoria Voitsitska called on international politicians and decision-makers to stop using the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an excuse to close their eyes towards Russian terrorism
Russia also prosecute citizens of Ukraine in Crimea for evading service in the RF Armed Forces. As of 30 June 2023, the Crimean Human Rights Group has documented at least 468 criminal cases under RF CC Article 328 (“evading the service in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”) sent to illegal “courts” in the occupied peninsula
Russia aims to refrain from openly causing the sinking of civilian vessels, instead "falsely laying blame" on Ukraine for conducting any attacks on civilian vessels in the Black Sea
Ukrainian children and adults with complex mine-blast wounds, burn injuries, oncological pathology, and diseases requiring complex, specialized treatment can be evacuated for treatment in foreign clinics
Law enforcement officers are investigating 19 cases of journalists killed by Russians on the territory of Ukraine during the full-scale invasion, according to the information from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine regarding the status of investigations into the murders of journalists who died in the line of duty or as civilian victims of shelling. Institute of Mass Information, a non-profit organization that documents journalists’ rights violations and press freedom, reports.
About three-quarters of the diamonds come from Russia, but they are not accompanied by any official documents that could confirm their origin, according to a statement by the NAPC
The government believes that this economic model will help to rebuild Crimea and "make it a prosperous and attractive place to live and work"
ZMINA explains what the portal "We Build Crimea" is about, who it is intended for, and what opportunities it offers to both the Ukrainian peninsula and its residents
Since the beginning of 2021, at least 10 mass detentions have occurred in the temporarily occupied Crimea. Most incidents occurred near the buildings of Russia’s government institutions
Human rights defenders from Regional Center for Human Rights, a Ukrainian non-profit group and a member of the “5 am. Coalition” have identified the route and at least eight places where children abducted from the occupied territories of Ukraine are held in Belarus. The group presented its findings in a research paper released in early August 2023.
On August 25, Alina Shevchenko, a servicewoman, and Stanislava Petlytsia, an activist, performed a “wedding” ceremony in Kharkiv, a city heavily damaged by Russian missiles. The performance took place near the Central Wedding Palace. The only difference between the celebration and an official wedding was that the women did not register their marriage at the registry office, which is currently legally impossible in Ukraine.
In the Kyiv region, 187 educational institutions that the Russian occupying forces destroyed have already been restored, according to the Kyiv Regional State Administration.
On Ukraine’s Independence Day, the Ukrainian Institute, a governmental agency focused on promoting Ukrainian culture, launched Insight UA, an English-language comprehensive guide to Ukrainian culture, personalities, and events, as noted in its press release.
Political prisoner Rustem Seytmemetov’s eyesight has fallen, his blood pressure is constantly jumping, and his legs swell due to the hot weather – because of this, he has to take medication all the time.
The families of prisoners of war (POWs) and missing persons believe that Ukraine’s government’s plan to transfer the Commissioner for Missing Persons functions to three different agencies will significantly impair the families’ ability to communicate directly with the authorities and search for their loved ones. Therefore, they plan to create an association of civil society organizations to control the agencies involved in this issue.
76% of refugees and 82% of internally displaced Ukrainians plan to return home whenever possible. At the same time, about 15% of both refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) say they want to do so within the next three months.
Residents refuse to leave the areas designated for evacuation by the Ukrainian government from the Kupiansk area of the Kharkiv region despite the fierce fighting looms. Older people most often refuse to go.
According to Qirim Gayesi, the maintenance of healthcare institutions has been severely compromised since the onset of the Russian invasion. Heads of medical institutions in Crimea were instructed to send surgeons and surgical nurses to the Ministry of Defense of the occupying country
The health of Ukrainian political prisoner Dmytro Shtyblikov, who was convicted of “high treason” by Russia for the second time, is deteriorating. Russian occupying forces keep him in a complete information vacuum.
According to the Institute of Mass Information (IMI), a prominent human rights and media organization, 68% of media professionals and 82% of bloggers have faced increased cyber attacks since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine.
Fatma Abseitova, Zevri’s wife, visited her husband with their children in Stavropol colony No. 1 in the village of Kochubeevskoye in the Russian Federation
More than 500 Ukrainian healthcare workers, both civilian and military, are currently being held captive by Russian occupying forces. According to Andriy Kryvtsov, head of the NGO Military Medics of Ukraine, they are subjected to ill-treatment and torture in prisons.
Almost 16% of Ukrainians across the country said they had witnessed Russian war crimes.
Crimean human rights activists recorded 140 cases of arrests on the peninsula, 93 of which were against members of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people. There were also 37 searches, 29 of them in the homes of Crimean Tatars
Leonid Kondratsky, a resident of Nova Kakhovka, Kherson region, has been held in the Simferopol Detention Center No. 2 for over a year in the temporarily occupied Crimea. Following Russia’s full-scale military invasion and occupying parts of the Kherson region of Ukraine, the man was kidnapped three times. The last time, he was never released, as reported by a Ukrainian non-profit organization, Crimean Human Rights Group.
The health of Mariana Chechelyuk, a 22-year-old investigator from besieged Mariupol in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, whom the Russians took prisoner during the evacuation from Azovstal, has deteriorated significantly despite the guarantees of the United Nations and the Red Cross.
Maye Mustafayeva and her and Server’s children, eight-year-old Yusuf and five-year-old Naji visited the political prisoner in Tambov prison. The family was allowed to come for an extended three-day visit from July 3 to 6
The health condition of the Crimean political prisoner Volodymyr Dudka is deteriorating. Russian occupying forces do not provide him with medical care, according to Ilya Dudka, the son of Volodymyr Dudka.
The vast majority of Ukrainians – 78% – have close relatives or friends who have been injured or killed by the Russian invasion, according to the results of a sociological survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) on May 26-June 5, 2023.
As of the end of June 2023, 126 women are still in Russian captivity.
Russian authorities transferred to “preliminary custody” 1,184 children deported from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The number is three times more than what was earlier declared publicly.
The occupying authorities regularly receive plans to collect "voluntary" aid for the Russian military, which are often funded by Crimean entrepreneurs. Representatives of businesses fear to disapprove of the imposed support for the Russian army due to potential repercussions from occupying bodies
The European Court of Human Rights took into consideration a complaint submitted by lawyers this January from a Ukrainian human rights group Crimea SOS about the illegal detention and persecution by Russian occupying authorities of a civic journalist Iryna Danylovych from Feodosiya in the Eastern part of the Crimean peninsula.
Crimean human rights defenders characterized the crackdown on dissent in the occupied Crimean Peninsula as part of a broader campaign by the Russian authorities to silence all opposition to their policies in the region
Yaroslav Zhuk made a statement about torture with a shocker and brutal beating by officials of the Rostov-on-Don pre-trial detention center as soon as the court hearing in his case based on trumped-up charges began in early June of this year. Zhuk is a car mechanic and a resident of Melitopol, a city in the Zaporizhzhia region occupied by Russian forces since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Human rights defenders in Crimea suspect that the number of enforced kidnappings and detentions among Crimean Tatars, in fact, is much higher. People may conceal these incidents, fearing further repressions
According to the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the girl did not even have time to finish her previous administrative detention, when she was abducted by the FSB and taken to Moscow, to the Lefortovo detention center
From the first days of the invasion, Russian-installed law enforcement agencies began unofficially threatening lawyers that they would be subjected to martial law. Later, a series of attacks ensued, including the arrest of lawyers, disbarment, and blocking of their mobile connections
The confiscation of properties violates international law and highlights the ongoing aggressive policies of the Russian occupiers
When the full-scale invasion started, monitors of the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG) have begun to get information from the occupied settlements of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that Ukrainian civilians abducted in these territories by the Russian military, the Rosguard, or the FSB are being transported to places of detention in Crimea
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