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1 Aug 2022
Relatives and friends of the Azovstal defenders attend a rally after Russian officials said that 53 Ukrainian PoWs were killed on 29 July in the attack on the Olenivka compound located in the DPR-controlled region, for which both Ukraine and Russia blame each other. [EPA-EFE/MYKOLA TYS]
Having no success on the battlefields, Russians decided to use massive terror as the intimidation instrument for reaching political goals, writes Roman Rukomeda.
Roman Rukomeda is a Ukrainian political analyst. This is his 61st account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 158th day of war has come to an end. Last week Ukraine and the world witnessed new proof of Russian war crimes and terrorist acts.
First, Russian war criminals tortured Ukrainian prisoners of war, and then they killed them before the video camera. A gruesome video of a Ukrainian soldier’s nightmares and execution was widely published during the week.
There are different explanations for this atrocity. First, it is to intimidate all Ukrainian soldiers, officers, and society. But this is something we already saw in Bucha, Mariupol and others. The second reason is that the video might be aimed at possibly provoking Ukrainian soldiers to do the same with Russian war prisoners.
For this reason, Russians periodically shoot at the occupied Donetsk, killing civilian people, as they did last week while accusing the Ukrainian side. But even local people of occupied Donetsk realise that they are periodically shelled and bombarded by their Russian “liberators”.
Russia also tried to blame the destruction of a prison and the burning of the village of Olenivka on Ukrainians. But their claim was easily debunked as false. Since the attacks, Russia has refused to let international organisation representatives such as Red Cross or the UN go there to investigate the case. Neither do they allow the Ukrainian ombudsman to visit the place of the tragedy.
Such massive killing of war prisoners with signs of torture shall not be forgotten.
Additional examples of increased Russian terrorism during the week were the heavy attack on the south Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv. There, on 29 July, Russians shelled Mykolaiv with cluster munitions. They destroyed the school and damaged the university building and two residential buildings. At least seven civilians were killed.
Besides, on Sunday, Russian aggressors attacked and killed Oleksiy Vadaturskiy – one of the most prominent Ukrainian agricultural businessmen engaged in the organisation of grain export from Ukraine. He was killed with his wife by a Russian rocket in his house during his sleep in the residential area of Mykolaiv. It was cold-blooded murder and an attempt to disorganise the export of Ukrainian grain abroad.
One more critical moment. Russia is using gas as a weapon against Europe now. They are openly blackmailing the EU and pressuring Europe.
Of course, the first consequences of the EU life without Russian gas will be harrowing for many national economies and households. But this is the only way to get rid of dangerous dependency.
It is a shame for the international community to keep Russia in the UN (OSCE as well) and as one of the members of the UN Security Council.
We, Ukraine, Europe and all the free democratic world, need to show that there is no fear of Russian terrorism.