Russian investigators on Thursday stated they’d opened greater than 1,100 circumstances into “crimes in opposition to peace” dedicated by the Ukrainian authorities, paving the way in which for what might flip right into a mass present trial of a whole lot of Ukrainian service members.

From the beginning, Russia has justified its invasion of Ukraine with a false declare that the federal government in Kyiv is managed by far-right, pro-Nazi teams which have perpetrated “humiliation and genocide” in opposition to the Ukrainian folks.

Asserting the invasion in February, President Vladimir V. Putin claimed the aim of the offensive was to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, in addition to deliver to trial those that perpetrated quite a few bloody crimes in opposition to civilians.”

Russian investigators at the moment are transferring ahead with circumstances in opposition to Ukrainian troopers, fulfilling Mr. Putin’s promise. The servicemen embrace members of the Azov regiment, whose roots in far-right actions have provided a veneer of credibility for Mr. Putin’s tenuous claims that Ukraine has been contaminated with Nazism.

Past holding trials to assist its narrative of the struggle, the Kremlin may additionally flip the destiny of those prisoners into a strong bargaining chip in any future talks with Kyiv.

The Investigative Committee, the nation’s high investigative physique, stated in a statement that a whole lot of Ukrainian service members, together with greater than 200 officers, had already been interrogated. Amongst them have been these captured on the sprawling Azovstal metal plant within the southern Ukrainian metropolis of Mariupol.

On Tuesday, Sergei Okay. Shoigu, the nation’s protection minister, stated Russia at the moment is holding 6,489 Ukrainian prisoners of struggle. Round 2,500 servicemen have been captured on the Azovstal plant, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated Monday.

The investigators have interviewed greater than 75,000 folks described as victims. On Thursday, they reported about their progress to Aleksandr Bastrykin, the company’s head, who got here to Mariupol to preside over a gathering with them. Mr. Bastrykin ordered his subordinates to hurry up the method.

“These are usually not easy road sweepers, drivers and cooks,” Mr. Bastrykin instructed these on the assembly, referring to the prisoners. “These are commanders.”

Along with forensic specialists, investigators have shaped 30 cellular teams that started to scour by way of town of Mariupol “block by block” on the lookout for proof, the investigators stated.

On its web site, the Investigative Committee opened a special section, itemizing dozens of Ukrainian servicemen and authorities officers that it had accused of committing crimes.

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