Politics

First Ukrainian city falls to Russia as UK vows to hunt down war criminals

RUSSIA has taken its first city in Ukraine as millions of people continue to flee the violence. 

Putin’s troops stormed the government building in the southern port city of Kherson, with the city’s Ukrainian mayor telling citizens to obey the “armed visitors”. 

Igor Kolykhaiev also pleaded with the troops not to shoot civilians.

It comes as the UN human rights office said 227 civilians had been killed and another 525 injured in Ukraine since Russia’s military invasion began a week ago.

The Ministry of Defence is yet to fully confirm the takeover, with Defence Secretary Ben Walace saying it was “possible” the city was under Russian control. 

Speaking at a press conference in Estonia, Mr Wallace said: ” Apart from Kherson where we think it is possible –  it’s not verified yet that Russia is in control – they still have not taken control of a number of big cities.

“They might enter them, in some cases they’ve been repelled.

“The control of large cities is a completely different step and they have not succeeded.”

Mr Wallace added: “The armoured column that is approximately 30 kilometers northwest of Kyiv, is still stuck there and we see for the first time a Russian admission of casualties, both injuries and deaths, as a result of their so-called special operation.

“To everyone else in the real world it is an invasion.”

Both Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s two largest cities, are stillunder a heavy bombing campaign by the Russian forces with missiles hitting civilian areas overnight.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss held a press conference in Lithuania this morning, where she was urged to help Ukrainians to leave the country.

She agreed that a “humanitarian corrdiro” had to be set up to help those fleeing but also to provide vital supplies.

The Foreign Secretary added that the West needs to “get the information” to the Russian people about what is “actually happening” in Ukraine in the face of reports from state-owned media at home.

She said she did not believe that President Vladimir Putin “speaks on behalf of Russian people”, adding: “What we have seen over the last week is some very brave people in Russia protesting, standing up against the regime.

“And we need to make sure that we get the information to them about what is actually happening.

“It is much harder to control information in the world of social media.

“And we need to make sure, as I’ve said, that the Russian economy is crippled so it is unable to continue to fund Putin and the war machine.

“And I suspect that the Russian people will draw their own conclusions from that.”

Yesterday the Prime Minister acknowledged publicly for the first time that he believed Putin and his army had committed war crimes with their action in Ukraine. 

Deputy PM Dominic Raab, who has worked on prosecuting war crimes as a lawyer, has said the UK will assist the International Criminal Court (ICC) in hunting down suspected Russian war criminals.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Raab said the government was still in the process of hashing out the details of Britain’s precise role in the ICC’s investigation, but promised that “few countries around the world” had the UK’s “lead information” which would likely prove “absolutely critical”.

When pressed on the nature of the intelligence, Mr Raab said he could not discuss sensitive information, but added: “What I can tell you is that from Nuremberg through to the Yugoslav tribunal and International Criminal Court, we have always had cooperation and information which has done two things: Locate fugitives (and)… provide lead information which can help the prosecutor’s office gather evidence which will secure convictions.”

 

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