The list of atrocities resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine seems to be far from over. The discovery of a makeshift cemetery with hundreds of Ukrainian civilians with signs of execution is the latest and darkest revelation of the brutality of the invasion, which Moscow calls a “special operation” or “denazification”, as many people, shamelessly, still insists on repeating.
No war is beautiful. But some can be more creepy and dirty than others. And what Vladimir Putin started in Ukraine has already proved to be illegal and inhumane to the point of putting the invasion on the waiting list of those that will be considered fraught with crimes against humanity.
The Ukrainian reaction, which has allowed to recover significant portions of its territory, will allow the world to face the horror produced by Putin’s troops. More than the rubble of houses, schools and hospitals. There will be no shortage of those who say who is war propaganda. After all, battles are not just fought with gunfire and shelling.
The graves discovered in a pine forest on the outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Izyum revealed that among the victims were women and children. Next to the individual graves, there was a mass grave dedicated to the Ukrainian military, who were treated even more undignified.
Even wars have rules. But for Putin’s Russia, the rules are a detail. Putin’s Russia violates them in Ukraine. Putin’s Russia violated them in Syria. Putin’s Russia violated them in Chechnya. But Putin was never charged for it.
Some of the most brutal events of the civil war fought in Syria had the direct participation of Russia. To help his ally, the dictator Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin committed the Russian armed forces to carry out bombings that, in addition to destroying entire cities, left a toll of at least 200 deaths. of civilians in just three cities of the many that were attacked by Putin’s troops.
The civil war in Syria, which is still active and has completed eleven years, has a balance of more than 306 thousand civilian deaths – about 10% are children. There are several independent reports that describe Assad’s atrocities under Putin’s patronage and patronage. But perhaps nothing is more suffocatingly didactic than the documentary The Cave, which tells the story of doctors in an underground hospital amid the rubble of Russian bombings in Syria.
The documentary ends with the evacuation of the hospital, which would later become the target of a Russian disinformation campaign. As Putin disliked the destruction of the hospital, he packaged a version that it was a den of the Islamic State terrorist group. A kind of infirmary for terrorists, to justify its destruction. Putin and his regime are, by the way, a machine for building versions and lies with the aim of disinforming and generating confusion. The documentary, which was even a finalist for the Oscars, broke the Kremlin’s fake legs, but that didn’t mean anyone charged Putin.
By the way, if Putin’s crimes had been charged and punished in the Syrian war, perhaps Ukraine was not even invaded. Tolerance for war criminals fuels new war crimes.
Putin is so comfortable with his crimes that he cast General Alexander Zhuravlyov, the same military leader who autographs some of the brutal chapters. of the war in Syria, to repeat the recipe for horror in the Ukrainian theater.
If Putin had paid for what he did against the Chechens, perhaps the history of the civil war in Syria would be the same.
The last European butcher to be arrested, tried and convicted was the former president of Serbia Slobodan Milošević, who promoted what the International Criminal Court understood to be genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Under his orders, Serbian troops and militias carried out an attack targeting the population of Albanian origin living in Kosovo. Milošević’s extermination policy resulted in the death of approximately 13 1,000 people, including 11 1,000 Albanians.
Milošević could only be accused, arrested and sentenced after he had stepped down from power. Putin remains firm in his regime, despite rumors of a coup, assassination attempts and the blatant discontent of the local elite who suffer, in their pockets, the cost of Putin’s armed war.
Only the future will allow know the fate of the Russian leader. But it is impossible to think that history will not treat him prominently within the chapter that brings together leaders who carry in their legacy the infamy of war crimes and genocide.