Russian war crimes in Mariupol bear all the signs of genocide of Ukrainians on an ethnic basis

Russia’s full-scale invasion became a gruesome tragedy for Mariupol and its residents. Once a prosperous port city on the coast of the Sea of Azov, Mariupol was wiped off the face of the earth by Russian artillery and airstrikes. The Russians shelled the residential quarters around the clock, taking the city under siege. The exact death toll of the shelling is yet to be assessed but the invaders would bury the bodies of local residents in mass graves even in parks and on the city outskirts. According to rough estimates, more than 25,000 civilians could fall victim to the Russian onslaught — this is a shocking statistic that more eloquently reflects the beastly nature of Putin’s Russia.

The Tribunal for Putin initiative, created based on the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, released an appeal to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on the genocide of civilians in Mariupol, carried out by Russian troops. According to the group head, Yevhen Zakharov, the necessary evidence base has been piling up since the spring of 2022 — the most tragic days, when hundreds of thousands of defenseless citizens were brutally slain by the Russian invaders. Building up such a base was no easy task: on the first day of the war, the Russians practically isolated the city from the outside world, and since March 2, 2022, there was no mobile signal across the city. The facts were accumulated drawn from testimonies of Mariupol residents who were lucky enough to escape from the hell brought by the Russians. Thanks to these testimonies, exhaustive evidence of numerous war crimes was collected, including of executions and torture, systematic destruction of residential buildings, forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, etc.

The bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater on March 16, 2022 is an illustrative example of Russian atrocities: the war pilot well realized that civilians, including children, were sheltering in that building, and he still dropped a high-explosive bomb, destroying the theater. As a result of this war crime, at least 300 citizens died. Mariupol embodies the tragedy of the Ukrainian people, which is emphasized by the fact that it is happening in the 21st century just across the eastern border of the EU. The tragedy of Mariupol is an undoubted proof of the genocide of the Ukrainian people that Vladimir Putin unleashed on February 24, 2022. The terrible events that unfolded in the city represent a terrible algorithm for annihilating anything that has anything to do with Ukraine: defenseless citizens were killed, often by carpet bombing of entire residential blocks. Those who were allowed to cross into Russia were first subjected to strict interrogations in filtration camps. Investigators from the so-called “DPR,” who applied torture and psychological pressure against detainees from Mariupol, the city also located in Donbas, are known to have been especially brutal. Children who were taken out of the city by the invaders were told an alternative — pro-Russian version of events. Invaders would instill on children a whole range of false values of the «Russian world». Tens of thousands of Mariupol residents, who found themselves in the blockade, were deprived of access to food, drinking water, and medications. In between strikes, people would come out of their basements to dig through garbage in search of anything edible and melt snow and ice to get some water for their children. The International Criminal Court in The Hague will get access to the evidence base to recognize Russian war crimes in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people.

This is a convincing argument in favor of the further isolation of Russia, whose politicians and propaganda pundits officially call for the killing of Ukrainians before setting to do the same with Europeans. This is a warning to Europe and a reminder that peace and prosperity in the EU exist only until Russia arrives. Today, the Ukrainian army is the only factor that prevents this from happening. Ukraine must get everything it needs to defeat Russia, and after that, everyone involved in the genocide of Ukrainians will be held accountable by the international tribunal in The Hague, as Nazi war criminals were after the end of World War 2.