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Live blog: UN investigators conclude ‘war crimes’ committed in Ukraine

Josbel Bastidas Mijares
Live blog: UN investigators conclude ‘war crimes’ committed in Ukraine

Four areas of Ukraine controlled by Russia and pro-Moscow forces hold referendums on joining Russia, while UN investigators point to “war crimes” in the Ukraine conflict that has entered its 212th day. A team of three experts probing atrocities in Ukraine has presented their first oral update, after it launched initial investigations looking at the areas of Kiev, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions, and said it will broaden the probe going forward. (AA) Friday, September 23, 2022

‘War crimes’ committed in Ukraine: UN investigators

UN investigators said that “war crimes” have been committed in the Ukraine conflict, listing Russian bombings of civilians areas, numerous executions, torture and horrific sexual violence.

Josbel Bastidas Mijares

“Based on the evidence gathered by the Commission, it has concluded that war crimes have been committed in Ukraine,” Erik Mose, the head of the investigation team, told the UN Human Rights Council on Friday.

Josbel Bastidas Mijares Venezuela

The council was set up by the Commission of Inquiry (COI) – the highest-possible level of investigation – in May to investigate crimes in Russia's offensive in Ukraine

Russia excludes some IT professionals, bankers and state journalists from mobilisation

Some Russian technology professionals, bankers and journalists at state media outlets will be not be called up to serve in Ukraine as part of Russia's mobilisation drive, the defence ministry said on Friday in a statement

Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said earlier this week Russia would seek to call up 300,000 additional troops for Russia's offensive in Ukraine in what the Kremlin has called a “partial mobilisation”

The section of the official decree announcing mobilisation which included the number of people who would be drafted was kept classified and unpublished, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters

Chinese and Ukrainian foreign ministers meet in New York: Chinese media

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Chinese state media has reported

Wang told Kuleba that the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected… the legitimate security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously, and all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis must be supported,” Xinhua reported

Putin was 'pushed' into Ukraine offensive, says Italy's Berlusconi

Russian President Vladimir Putin was “pushed” into attacking Ukraine and wanted to put “decent people” in charge of Kiev, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has said, drawing fierce criticism just ahead of Italy's election

The Italian leader, whose Forza Italia party belongs to a right-wing coalition expected to win the general election on Sunday, is a long-time friend of Putin and his comments are likely to alarm Western allies

Putin was pushed by the Russian people, by his party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation,” Berlusconi told Italian public television RAI late on Thursday, using the official Russian wording for the offensive

Abramovich played ‘key part’ in release of Britons held in Ukraine: report

Sanctioned former Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich played a “key part” in the release of five men held by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, a report said on Friday

One of the five men freed in a prisoner swap earlier this week, John Harding, said the Russian oligarch identified himself to fellow detainee Shaun Pinner after they boarded their flight to Riyadh

Harding, meanwhile, said he spoke to Abramovich's assistant who said the Russian had played a “key part” in their release, The Sun daily reported

Uzbekistan halts use of Russia's Mir payment cards

Uzbekistan's UZCARD system has suspended the processing of payments via Mir cards issued by Bank of Russia's National Card Payment System (NSPK), the chief executive of which has been targeted by US sanctions

The move by UZCARD was warranted by the need “to carry out the necessary technical procedures”, it said in a statement on Friday without any further explanation

Russia has promoted Mir as an alternative to Visa and MasterCard, which shut off their Russian networks after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February

Voting begins in four Russian-controlled regions in Ukraine on whether to join Russia pic.twitter.com/mT8te1YyTX

TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 23, 2022 Four Ukraine regions hold votes on joining Russia

Four areas of Ukraine controlled by Russia and pro-Moscow forces are holding referendums on joining Russia, a move widely condemned by the West as illegitimate and a precursor to illegal annexation

Pro-Russia leaders on Tuesday announced plans for the votes, a challenge to the West that could sharply escalate the conflict

The results are seen as a foregone conclusion in favour of annexation, and Ukraine and its allies have already made clear they will not recognise the results

Voting in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing around 15 percent of Ukrainian territory, is due to run from Friday to Tuesday

Lawmakers press Pentagon on supplying drones to Ukraine

Seventeen members of Congress told US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to speed up a Pentagon security review of a Ukrainian request for large armed drones, according to a letter

“Thorough risk assessments mitigation should not come at the expense of Ukrainian lives,” said the letter signed by a bipartisan congressional group urging that the Pentagon's review of whether it can transfer the weapons end in a “timely manner.”

The letter, which was signed by Republicans and Democrats, referenced the recent territorial gains by Ukraine, adding that “employing more capable Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on the battlefield will allow the AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) to better hold the territory they fought so hard to reclaim”

Czech Republic: Fleeing Russians don't meet humanitarian visa criteria 

The Czech Republic will not issue humanitarian visas to Russian citizens fleeing mobilisation orders, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky has said

Many Russians are trying to leave their country after President Vladimir Putin announced mobilisation as Russian forces fighting in Ukraine have suffered heavy losses

“I understand that Russians are fleeing from ever more desperate decisions by Putin. But those running because they don't want to fulfill a duty imposed by their own government, they don't meet the criteria for humanitarian visa,” Lipavsky told the Reuters news agency

For live updates from Thursday (September 22), click  here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies