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Rus-atrocities against women in the Ukraine.

Russian invasion i.e. war of/against the Ukraine
'Women as war trophees'
Opinion by Gino d'Artali
28 apr 2022-67th.day

History always repeats itself especially as it concerns the rapings, torturing and/or femicides during a war when women are considered being war trophees. Russian soldier even place their inhuman acts on video like pornhub.com (let me spare you an example). And so here we go again: the russian invasion of and the war against the ukaine but let's not forget the birds of prey seeing a chance to 'profit' from the warfields and pick their victims too. I will, based on international media, the UN and human rights reports, try to give you an overview:

The Guardian
29 April 2022
Guardian staff and agencies.
<<UK team to investigate sexual violence in Ukraine, says Truss
Foreign secretary emphasises urgency of holding to account those who use rape as a weapon of war.
Britain will send investigators to Ukraine to help gather evidence of war crimes, including sexual violence, the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has said. Both Ukrainian prosecutors and the international criminal court (ICC) have been investigating potential war crimes in Ukraine since Russiaís 24 February invasion, which the Kremlin called a <special military operation> to demilitarise its neighbour. Moscow denies committing war crimes in Ukraine or targeting civilians during a war that has killed thousands, devastated many cities and towns and forced 5 million people, mostly women and children, to flee abroad. Speaking after meeting with ICC officials, Truss said a British team would head to Ukraine in May with a special emphasis on investigating rape as a possible war crime. <It's done to subjugate women and destroy communities and we want to see it stopped. This is about collecting a wide range of evidence, witness statements, forensic evidence, and video evidence,> she said outside the court building in The Hague. The team will arrive in neighbouring Poland early next month to examine how they can assist. <We will also use British intelligence to help show the link between what is happening on the frontline and the Russian authorities, because it is important that everybody in the chain of command is held to account,> she said. <The priority now is collecting the evidence as soon as possible and making that happen and also bringing perpetrators to justice because bringing perpetrators to justice is also about preventing further atrocities taking place in Ukraine, demonstrating to people that if they do commit war crimes, if they do use rape as a weapon of war, they will be held to account. We are looking at all possible ways, including how the crime of aggression can be prosecuted.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/29/uk-to-send-investigators-to-ukraine-to-gather-evidence-of-war-crimes-truss-says

The Guardian
By Lorenzo Tondo and Isobel Koshiw in Kyiv
25 Apr 2022
<<Evidence some Ukrainian women raped before being killed, say doctors. Forensic specialists carrying out autopsies north of Kyiv say they 'still have hundreds of bodies to examine'.
Warning: contains graphic descriptions.
Forensic doctors carrying out postmortem examinations on bodies in mass graves north of Kyiv say they have found evidence some women were raped before being killed by Russian forces. <We already have a few cases which suggest that these women had been raped before being shot to death,> said Vladyslav Perovskyi, a Ukrainian forensic doctor who with a team of coroners has carried out dozens of autopsies on residents from Bucha, Irpin and Borodianka who died during Russia's month-long occupation of the area. <We can't give more details as my colleagues are still collecting the data and we still have hundreds of bodies to examine,> he said.
Perovskyi's team has been examining about 15 bodies a day, many of them mutilated. <There are many burnt bodies, and heavily disfigured bodies that are just impossible to identify,> he said. <The face could be smashed into pieces, you can't put it back together, sometimes there's no head at all.> He said the bodies of some women they had examined showed signs that the victims had been killed by automatic gunfire, with upwards of six bullet holes in their backs.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/25/evidence-ukraine-women-raped-before-being-killed-say-doctors-russia-war

The Guardian
Supported by
guardian.org
By Antonia Cundy
25 Apr 2022
<<'Women need to be ready': the Ukrainian city where mums and daughters are learning to shoot.Reports of rape and torture by occupying Russian forces have driven thousands of women in Ivano-Frankivsk to enrol in firearms classes. In the long, narrow basement underneath Litsey 20, a school in Ivano-Frankivsk, western Ukraine, Serhiy Korneliyevych Hamchuk stands before a row of women and lays a Kalashnikov assault rifle down on the desk in front of him.
The 10 women, aged between 18 and 51, watch attentively as Hamchuk demonstrates how to load ammunition into the gun's magazine, sliding the bullets into place one after another with his thumb. <Dobre,> he says. <Good. Who wants to try?> The concrete walls of Litsey 20, one of the largest schools in Ivano-Frankivsk, are normally filled with the chatter of more than 1,200 students aged between six and 18. But with in-person teaching banned across Ukraine because of the war, the school is providing a different sort of education. At the end of March, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, one of the largest cities in western Ukraine, announced that shooting ranges at five schools in the city - normally used by pupils in the Ukrainian equivalent of the Combined Cadet Force - would be reopened in order to teach civilians how to use firearms. Although open to all, the courses are primarily aimed at women. <There are other institutions where men can train, but these are special courses organised for women,> Ruslan Martsinkiv, the city's mayor, says. <Women have to be ready to protect themselves and their families.> The first lesson was held on 31 March, the day Ukrainian forces liberated Bucha, a suburb north-west of the capital, Kyiv. In the days that followed, as reports of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers circulated in the media and on Telegram channels - of the killing of civilians with their hands tied behind their backs, of rape, torture and looting - thousands of women rushed to sign up. Over the first weekend, more than 3,700 women enrolled, with 800 men also registering their interest. In the weeks since, thousands more have signed up, and there is now a waitlist of more than 6,300 women who want to learn how to shoot. For 51-year-old Natalia Anoshina, the idea that she might want to know how to handle a rifle was one she had never considered. But after hearing about the atrocities in Bucha, when her 18-year-old daughter suggested they sign up, she agreed. <It's a nightmare, it's just horrific. My mind can't process this information, this dread,> she says of the events outside Kyiv. Dressed in a grey hoodie, jeans and purple Crocs, Natalia watches while her daughter, Anya, lies propped up on her elbows on the shooting range, and cocks the air rifle tucked into her shoulder to load it with a pellet. <It makes you look at things with a different perspective,> she says. <These are the things that lead you to some unexpected decisions. Now, anything could help you, like this shooting course.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/apr/25/women-need-to-be-ready-the-ukrainian-city-where-mums-and-daughters-are-learning-to-shoot

The Guardian
15 Apr 2022

Opinion/War crimes
<<Russia's mass rapes in Ukraine are a war crime. Its military leaders must face prosecution.
By Gaby Hinsliff
They read like messages from one of the creepier dating apps, or else the sort of unwanted lechery with which many young women on social media are grimly familiar.

One man suggests sharing <a large bed, we could sleep together> and then letting <what we both want happen>. Another is keen to let the recipient know she is <so beautiful>, while a third immediately asks, <Are you single?> But these aren't just any old clumsy sexual overtures. These are messages left for women fleeing war-torn Ukraine, on a Facebook group seeking to match refugees with Britons offering sanctuary. The grotesque parody of shelter some men see fit to offer is a chance to flee the threat of rape by Russian soldiers, but only for somewhere you might want to barricade yourself into the spare bedroom at night. An undercover reporter posing as a refugee found more than half the messages sent to her came from men living alone, some explicit about the strings attached to their offers. What kind of man, you may wonder, sees in a tragedy a sexual opportunity? Well, in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, it was British aid workers who paid desperate locals for sex. In Somalia, ravaged by war, it was Belgian and Italian peacekeepers sent by the UN. In the makeshift refugee camps of northern France, it was people smugglers preying on potential clients. And now on the borders between Ukraine and its neighbours, it's sex traffickers, masquerading as good Samaritans offering unwary women a lift. Wherever there is conflict, there is chaos and disruption and unguarded moments for women and children, and with depressing predictability some will always seek to exploit that. But it is the predictability that makes it more preventable. The UN has now asked the British government to ban single men from housing female refugees, advice that Michael Gove (the cabinet minister in charge of the refugee matching scheme) should act on and make policy. The more complex emerging challenge, however, is what to do about the horrific scale of systematic sexual violence emerging inside Ukraine itself, as the Russian retreat from occupied towns and villages frees victims to emerge and tell their stories. As the war correspondent Christina Lamb writes bleakly in her book Our Bodies, Their Battlefield, rape is <the cheapest weapon known to man>, one deployed every bit as strategically and deliberately as bombs and bullets. The aim is to intimidate, degrade and terrify civilians, and in some cultures to ensure victims are rejected by their own families. But some of the stories emerging from Ukraine now have a particularly chilling dimension, one all too familiar in wars of ethnic cleansing, which is the attempt to force women to bear the invading army's children.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/apr/15/rape-weapon-ukraine-war-crime-sexual-violence

The Guardian
13 Apr 2022
By Rajeev Syal Home affairs editor

<<Stop matching lone female Ukraine refugees with single men, UK told. UN agency intervenes after claims predatory men using Homes for Ukraine scheme to target vulnerable. The UN refugee agency has called on the UK government to intervene to stop single British men from being matched up with lone Ukrainian women seeking refuge from war because of fears of sexual exploitation. Following claims that predatory men are using the Homes for Ukraine scheme to target the vulnerable, the United Nations high commissioner for refugee (UNHCR) told the Guardian <a more appropriate matching process> could be put in place to ensure women and women with children are matched with families or couples. The suggestion from the global refugee agency follows reports that Ukrainian refugees, predominantly women and sometimes accompanied by children, are at risk in the UK of sexual exploitation. Under the government's Homes for Ukraine scheme, British hosts must link up with Ukrainian refugees them-selves, leaving tens of thousands of people to resort to unregulated social media groups to connect. A government-backed matching service run by the charity Reset offers to match UK hosts with refugees but has been operating for just over a week. Those who want to move to the UK must have a sponsor before applying for a visa.
In a statement, the UNHCR said there was a need for adequate safeguards and vetting measures to be in place against exploitation, as well as adequate support for sponsors. [The] UNHCR believes that a more appropriate matching process could be put in place by ensuring that women and women with children are matched with families or couples, rather than with single men. Matching done without the appropriate oversight may lead to increasing the risks women may face, in addition to the trauma of displacement, family separation and violence already experienced, a spokesperson said.>>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/13/stop-matching-lone-female-ukraine-refugees-with-single-men-uk-told

Al Jazeera
12 Apr 2022

<<UN calls for independent investigation into rape in Ukraine
Executive Director for UN Women Sima Bahous says allegations of rape and sexual violence by Russian troops must be independently verified.
The United Nations has demanded an independent investigation into rape and sexual violence in Ukraine, after allegations Russian troops committed such crimes during the continuing invasion of the neighbouring country. <We are increasingly hearing of rape and sexual violence. These allegations must be independently investigated to ensure justice and accountability,> Executive Director for UN Women Sima Bahous told a UN Security Council briefing late on Monday. <The combination of mass displacement with the large presence of conscripts and mercenaries, and the brutality displayed against Ukrainian civilians, has raised all red flags,> she said. Bahous added she had recently returned from the Republic of Moldova, where she spoke to women and children arriving from Ukraine. Kateryna Cherepakha, president of the La Strada organisation, which tackles gender-based violence, told the UN council via video call that <rape is used as a weapon of war by Russian invaders in Ukraine>. Cherepakha said witnesses spoke of Russian officers carrying out rapes in front of children and family members and threatening the lives of their victims. Russia has denied the allegations. <No convincing evidence has been presented for any of these crimes, but it's understandable that you have trampled the presumption of innocence a long time ago,> Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russian deputy ambassador to the UN, told the council.
'Hundreds of cases of rape'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said in-vestigators had received reports of <hundreds of cases of rape> in areas previously occupied by Russian troops, including sexual assaults of small children. <In areas freed from the occupiers, the recording and investigation of war crimes committed by Russia continues. Almost every day we find new mass graves,> he told Lithuanian lawmakers via video link. <Hundreds of cases of rape have been recorded, including those of young girls and very young children. Even of a baby!> Ukraine's UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya alleged Russia had disregarded the need to protect civilians in Ukraine and called for a full and transparent investigation of crimes against women and children.>>
Read more here:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/12/un-calls-for-independent-investigation-into-rape-in-ukraine

India today
India Today Web Desk - Kyiv
4 Apr 2022

<<Russian soldiers raped minors, branded women's bodies, claims Ukrainian MP. A Ukrainian MP has claimed that Russian soldiers raped minors and branded women's bodies in the country.
Ukrainian Member of Parliament Lesia Vasylenk took to Twitter on Monday to claim that Russian soldiers had raped girls as young as 10 years old and branded women's bodies. The young girls suffered vaginal and rectal tears while women's bodies with burns in the shape of hooked crosses had been found. A hooked cross is also called swastika for its similarity to the sacred Indian symbol.
Lesia Vasylenk said that Russian troops were looting, raping and killing people in Ukraine and referred to Russia as a <nation of immoral crimes>. >>
Read more here:
https://www.indiatoday.in/world/russia-ukraine-war/story/russia-ukraine-war-news-soldiers-rape-minor-brand-women-mp-1933241-2022-04-04

The Guardian
4 Apr 2022
Bethan McKernan in Lviv

<<Rape as a weapon: huge scale of sexual violence inflicted in Ukraine emerges. Women and girls have recounted the abuse they have suffered at the hands of Russian soldiers.
Women across Ukraine are grappling with the threat of rape as a weapon of war as growing evidence of sexual violence emerges from areas retaken from retreating Russian forces. The world was horrified on Sunday by a picture taken by the photographer Mikhail Palinchak on a highway 20km outside the capital, Kyiv, in which the bodies of one man and three women were piled under a blanket. The women were naked and their bodies had been partially burned, the photographer said. The harrowing image adds to a mounting body of evidence that summary executions, rape and torture have been used against civilians in areas under Russian control since the Kremlin launched the invasion of its neighbour on 24 February. Particularly difficult for many to comprehend is the scale of the sexual violence. As Russian troops have withdrawn from towns and suburbs around the capital in order to refocus the war effort on Ukraine's east, women and girls have come forward to tell the police, media and human rights organisations of atrocities they have suffered at the hands of Russian soldiers. Gang-rapes, assaults taking place at gunpoint, and rapes committed in front of children are among the grim testimonies collected by investigators. <We have had several calls to our emergency hotline from women and girls seeking assistance, but in most cases it's been impossible to help them physically. We haven't been able to reach them because of the fighting,> said Kateryna Cherepakha, the president of La Strada Ukraine, a charity that supports survivors of trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault. <Rape is an underreported crime and stigmatised issue even in peaceful times. I am worried that what we learn about is just going to be the tip of the iceberg.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/03/all-wars-are-like-this-used-as-a-weapon-of-war-in-ukraine

blank dated
ABC7News
Associated Press
By Stephen McGrath

<< HUMAN TRAFFICKING
As millions of women, children flee Ukraine, human traffickers target most vulnerable refugees. The U.N. says more than 2.5 million people, including more than a million children, have already fled amid Russia's invasion.
SIRET, Romania -- One man was detained in Poland suspected of raping a 19-year-old refugee he'd lured with offers of shelter after she fled war-torn Ukraine. Another was overheard promising work and a room to a 16-year-old girl before authorities intervened. Another case inside a refugee camp at Poland's Medyka border, raised suspicions when a man was offering help only to women and children. When questioned by police, he changed his story. As millions of women and children flee across Ukraine's borders in the face of Russian aggression, concerns are growing over how to protect the most vulnerable refugees from being targeted by human traffickers or becoming victims of other forms of exploitation.
<Obviously all the refugees are women and children,> said Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams, the UNHCR's head of global communications, who has visited borders in Romania, Poland and Moldova. <You have to worry about any potential risks for trafficking - but also exploitation, and sexual exploitation and abuse. These are the kinds of situations that people like traffickers ... look to take advantage of,> she said.>>
Read more here:
https://abc7news.com/human-trafficking-ukrainian-refugees-ukraine-refugee-crisis/11646018/

Republican
03 Apr 2022
By Zaini Majeed

<<British Ambassador To Ukraine Warns 'Rape Is A Weapon Of War, Part Of Russia's Arsenal'
Ukrainian ministers have cited several incidents where Russian soldiers have raped and later killed victims as the brutal armed conflict ensues on their soil. This article contains details and depictions of rape war crimes that may be distressing.
Russian troops have allegedly been committing rape crimes against Ukrainian women as an 'instrument of war' and in the recent week, <several cases> of violent sexual acts have emerged since Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered an all-out military invasion in Kyiv. While millions of civilians have taken shelter in the neighbouring EU nations to flee the war atrocities, the women and young girls in Ukrainian cities are being subjected to horrifying acts of sexual violence by the invading Russian soldiers, as is being claimed by the Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Ukrainian MP Maria Mezentseva. The Ukrainian ministers have cited several incidents where Russian soldiers have raped and later killed the victims as the brutal armed conflict ensues on Ukrainian soil. Many such cases have not yet been revealed to the public by the rape victims, Maria Mezentseva said in a TV interview, referencing a singled out case in Brovary, an eastern suburb of Kyiv. On Saturday, British Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons warned that Russian soldiers are committing rapes as 'a weapon of war'. While the extent of use of such sexual crimes in war-torn Ukraine isn't fully understood, <it's already clear it is being used as a part of the arsenal,> Simmons warned. This article contains details and depictions of rape war crimes that may be distressing.
Russian troops have allegedly been committing rape crimes against Ukrainian women as an 'instrument of war' and in the recent week, <several cases> of violent sexual acts have emerged since Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered an all-out military invasion in Kyiv. While millions of civilians have taken shelter in the neighbouring EU nations to flee the war atrocities, the women and young girls in Ukrainian cities are being subjected to horrifying acts of sexual violence by the invading Russian soldiers, as is being claimed by the Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Ukrainian MP Maria Mezentseva. The Ukrainian ministers have cited several incidents where Russian soldiers have raped and later killed the victims as the brutal armed conflict ensues on Ukrainian soil. Many such cases have not yet been revealed to the public by the rape victims, Maria Mezentseva said in a TV interview, referencing a singled out case in Brovary, an eastern suburb of Kyiv. On Saturday, British Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons warned that Russian soldiers are committing rapes as 'a weapon of war'. While the extent of use of such sexual crimes in war-torn Ukraine isnít fully understood, <it's already clear it is being used as a part of the arsenal,> Simmons warned. Rape is a weapon of war. Though we donít yet know the full extent of its use in #Ukraine it's already clear it was part of arsenal. Women raped in front of their kids, girls in front of their families, as a deliberate act of subjugation. Rape is a war crime. As cases of rape by the Russian soldiers and increased sexual violence against women came to light recently, UK Foreign Office minister Vicky Ford told MPs during an urgent question in the Commons that the UK has involved international partners to strengthen the response to tackling sexual violence in conflict and <all options are on the table>. The Labour Party called for a tribunal on reports of sexual violence by Russian troops. <We are working through the ICC [International Criminal Court] because we believe that that is the best way to take people to court for war crimes. Setting up a new body could take many years and as I said, we have seen from the experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo that the ICC can be effective in holding people to account,> said Ford.>>
Read more here:
https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/russia-ukraine-crisis/british-ambassador-to-ukraine-warns-rape-is-a-weapon-of-war-part-of-russias-arsenal-articleshow.html

Independent
1 Apr 2022
By Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent

<<Reports of rape by Russian soldiers in Ukraine are 'tip of the iceberg', experts warn. 'Sexual violence is used during conflicts to destroy not only the lives of individuals but entire communities,' says campaigner. Reports of sexual violence against Ukrainian women carried out by Russian soldiers are likely to just be the tip of the iceberg, experts have said. Ukrainian officials have announced they are looking into allegations including that a Russian soldier killed the husband of a woman called Natalya before two Russian troops repeatedly raped her in a village outside the capital of Kyiv.
Maria Mezentseva, a Ukrainian MP, has said there are other rape victims whose cases have not yet been revealed to the public. But the Kremlinís spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has denied the woman, who has been given the fake name of Natalya to protect her, was raped by two Russian soldiers. However, campaigners told The Independent reports of sexual violence against Ukrainian civilians do not capture the scale of the problem. Nadine Tunasi, survivor champion for the British government's preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative, said: <Sadly, whenever men in uniform begin attacking civilians, it is inevitably women and girls who suffer the most and the conflict in Ukraine is proving no different.> >>
Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/russia-sexual-violence-reports-ukraine-b2049034.html

Links/articles embedded in the above above article:
-Ukranian woman 'raped by teenage Russian soldier' as she sheltered in school.
-Russian troops using rape as 'instrument of war', claims Ukraine's prosecutor general.

Insider
29 Mar 2022
By Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert

<<A Ukrainian woman recounts being raped by Russian soldiers who killed her husband: 'Shall we kill her or keep her alive?'
Officials in Ukraine are investigating the allegations of a woman who says Russian soldiers killed her husband and then repeatedly raped her ó the first known official investigation into claims of rape by Russian soldiers since Russia invaded Ukraine. On Monday, The Times of London published an interview with an anonymous woman the newspaper identified as being at the center of the investigation. It said she was 33 and had lived with her 35-year-old husband and 4-year-old son near the village of Shevchenkove outside the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. The woman told The Times that on March 9 she and her husband approached a group of Russian soldiers outside their home and found that the troops had killed the family's dog. She said the troops later searched the area for gasoline, with one of the soldiers apparently apologizing for the dog's death. After dark, she said, she and her husband again heard something outside, and her husband walked out. <I heard a single shot, the sounds of the gate opening, and then the sound of footsteps in the house,> the woman told The Times. She said one of the men from earlier - apparently the group's commander - had returned with one other man, who appeared to be in his 20s. <I cried out, 'Where is my husband?'> she said. <Then I looked outside and I saw him on the ground by the gate. This younger guy pulled gun to my head and said: 'I shot your husband because he's a Nazi.'> The woman told The Times she told her 4-year-old son to hide in the boiler room where they had been sheltering. She said the two soldiers then took turns raping her as her son cried in the next room. <He said 'you'd better shut up or I'll get your child and show him his mother's brains spread around the house,> she told The Times, adding: <All the time they held the gun by my head and taunted me, saying, 'How do you think she sucks it? Shall we kill her or keep her alive?'> There have been other reports of sexual violence and rape during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but last week Ukraine's prosecutor general announced the first investigation into one of them. Earlier this month, Lesia Vasylenko, a member of Ukraine's parliament, talked to UK officials about the rising reports of rape. <We have reports of women being gang-raped. These women are usually the ones who are unable to get out. We are talking about senior citizens,> The Guardian quoted Vasylenko as saying. <Most of these women have either been executed after the crime of rape or they have taken their own lives.> >>
Read more here:
https://www.businessinsider.com/ukrainian-woman-raped-by-russian-soldiers-sexual-violence-investigation-2022-3?r=US&IR=T

28 Mar 2022
BBC Europe
By Katya Adler
Europe editor

<<How the sex trade preys on Ukraine's refugees
Five weeks into Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, imagine for a moment what it's like to live there now. Bombs, bloodshed, trauma. No school for your children, no healthcare for your parents, no safe roof over your head in many parts of the country. Would you try to run? Ten million Ukrainians have, according to the United Nations.
Most seek refuge in other areas of Ukraine, believed to be safer. But more than three and a half million people have fled over the border.
They are mainly women and children, as men under the age of 60 are obliged by the Ukrainian government to stay put and fight.
Displaced and disoriented, often with no idea where to go next, refugees are forced to put their trust in strangers.
The chaos of war is now behind them, but the truth is, they're not entirely safe outside Ukraine either. <For predators and human traffickers, the war in Ukraine is not a tragedy,> UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Twitter. <It's an opportunity - and women and children are the targets.> Trafficking rings are notoriously active in Ukraine and neighbouring countries in peace time. The fog of war is perfect cover to increase business. Karolina Wierzbińska, a coordinator at Homo Faber, a human rights organisation based in Lublin, told me children were a huge concern.
Many youngsters were travelling out of Ukraine unaccompanied, she said. Patchy registration processes in Poland and other border regions - especially at the start of the war - meant children disappeared, their current whereabouts unknown. My colleagues and I headed down to the Polish-Ukrainian border to see for ourselves. At a train station, well known for refugee arrivals, we found a hive of activity. Dazed-looking women and crying children were all around. Many were being comforted and offered hot food from steaming industrial-sized cooking pots by an army of volunteers wearing high-vis gilets. So far, so well organised, right? Not quite. We met Margherita Husmanov, a Ukrainian refugee from Kyiv in her early 20s. She arrived at the border two weeks ago, but decided to stay on, to help stop fellow refugees falling into the wrong hands. I asked her if she felt vulnerable. <Yes,> she told me. <That's especially why I worry about their safety. The women and children come here from a terrible war. They don't speak Polish or English. They don't know what's going on and they believe what anyone tells them. Anyone can turn up at this station. The first day I volunteered, we saw three men from Italy. They were looking for beautiful women to sell into the sex trade. <I called the police and it turned out I was right. It wasn't paranoia. It's horrible.> Margherita says local officials are a bit more organised now. Police regularly patrol the station. The people (mainly men, we're told) with cardboard signs to tempting destinations, so present in the first couple of weeks of refugee arrivals, have largely disappeared. But as we find out from a number of sources, other ill-intentioned individuals are now posing as high-vis-wearing volunteers.
Elena Moskvitina spoke out on Facebook to raise awareness. She's now safely in Denmark, so we chatted at length via Skype. Her experience is chilling. She and her children crossed into neighbouring Romania from war-torn Ukraine. They were looking for a lift away from the border. What she described as fake volunteers at a refugee centre asked where she was staying. They turned up later in the day and aggressively told her Switzerland was the best place to go and that they'd give her a lift there, with a van full of other women. Elena told me the men looked at her and her daughter <sleazily>. Her daughter was petrified. They asked her to show them her son, who was in another room. They looked him up and down, she said. They then insisted she travel with no-one else except them, and they got angry when she asked to see their ID cards. To get the men away from her family, Elena promised to meet them when the other women were in their van. But as soon as they left, she told me, she grabbed her children and ran.>>
Read more here:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60891801

And read also:


The Guardian
27 Mar 2022
By Harry Taylor
<<Russian soldiers raping and sexually assaulting women, says Ukraine MP. Maria Mezentseva said Ukraine will 'not be silent' about the attacks, which are considered war crimes.>>
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/27/russian-soldiers-raping-and-sexually-assaulting-women-says-ukraine-mp

Forbes
23 Mar 2022
By Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab - Contributor

<<Where There Is War, There Is Rape. Is Putin's War Any Different?
Where there is war, there is rape and rape used as a weapon of war. In the last few years only, we have seen Daesh using rape as a weapon of war and a method of genocide against the Yazidi women and girls in Iraq. The same tactic has been used in Myanmar by the Burmese military against Rohingya women, in Ethiopia against Tigrayan women, and many more. As Putin's war in Ukraine rages on, allegations of the use of rape against Ukrainian women come to light. These allegations are yet to be fully investigated.
On March 4, 2022, Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, spoke of numerous cases of sexual violence in the week of Putin's war, during an event organized by the Chatham House think-tank. As he commented, <When bombs fall on your cities, when soldiers rape women in the occupied cities Ė and we have numerous cases of, unfortunately, when Russian soldiers rape women in Ukrainian cities - it's difficult of course to speak about the efficiency of the international law.>
On March 17, 2022, four Ukrainian MPs visiting the U.K. Parliament, Lesia Vasylenko, Alona Shkrum, Maria Mezentseva, and Olena Khomenko, reported that Putin has been deliberately targeting women and children after Ukraine did not surrender. They spoke of this targeting to have included rape and sexual violence. As they told journalists in Westminster, <We have reports of women gang-raped, these women are usually the ones who are unable to get out. We are talking about senior citizens. Most of these women have either been executed after the crime of rape or they have taken their own lives.> These allegations are yet to be investigated. This crucial work could be done by a new mechanism that is to be created by the U.N. Indeed, on March 4, 2022, 33 countries voted in favor of a resolution to create such a mechanism. Russia and Eritrea voted against it, while 13 nations abstained. The new mechanism, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (Commission of Inquiry), initially established for one year, is to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, and related crimes against Ukraine by the Russian Federation, and to establish the facts, circumstances and root causes of any such violations and abuses.>>
Read more here:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2022/03/23/where-there-is-war-there-is-rape-is-putins-way-any-different/?sh=6998aa6d3f2d

The Washington Post
By Esther Hallsdottir
Mar 24 2022

<<Are Russian troops using sexual violence as a weapon? Here's what we know. They've done so in Ukraine in the past. Five factors make it likely this time as well.
Over the last month, Russian forces have assaulted the people of Ukraine. In addition to news of attacks on civilians and families displaced, there are now initial reports that Russian forces have committed sexual violence. This month, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed that Russian soldiers had committed <numerous> rapes against Ukrainian women. Last week, Ukrainian MPs charged that Russian forces were targeting women and girls specifically and that elderly women had been raped. No hard evidence for these allegations has yet come to light. But evidence from recent conflicts along with certain aspects of the current invasion suggest cause for great concern. Russian armed forces have recently perpetrated sexual violence in other conflicts. First, Russia has a recent history of committing sexual violence in war. According to the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict data set, sexual violence by Russian forces has been reported in three of seven years of conflict since 2014 in eastern Ukraine.>>
Read more here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/24/russia-ukraine-military-sexual-violence-rape/

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