UN investigators traveling to Ukraine to probe allegations of Russian abuse

Members of the United Nations commission investigating allegations against Russia of human rights abuse are traveling Monday to Ukraine for the group’s third “fact-finding mission.”

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine will travel to several locations in Ukraine, including Uman in Cherkasy Oblast and Kyiv, departing Aug. 28 and returning Sept. 4.

The trip is part of the ongoing effort “to investigate alleged human rights violations and abuses, and international humanitarian law violations and to meet with victims and witnesses.”

The commissioners will meet with government officials, members of society, UN agencies’ representatives and international groups and the diplomatic corps, according to a press release Thursday.

The commission was established first in March 2022 and was extended in April 2023 for an additional year. In March 2024, the commissioners are expected to submit a comprehensive report of their findings.

The commission has previously found substantial evidence of human rights abuse, according to its last report, including two incidents that qualify as war crimes.

In its report from earlier this year, the commissioners recommended further investigation, specifically into Russia’s “waves of attack … on Ukraine’s energy-related infrastructure and the use of torture by Russian authorities,” which “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

“The Commission has concluded that Russian armed forces have carried out attacks with explosive weapons in populated areas with an apparent disregard for civilian harm and suffering. It has documented indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, and a failure to take precautions, in violation of international humanitarian law,” the March 2023 report read.

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