As an official representative as Ukraine’s Ambassador to South Africa and a career diplomat for 20 years, I always know how to be calm and collected, even in the most stressful and difficult situations. It’s an important and very important part of my job, a job I love, a job that’s more my life calling than just a career.
I find it very satisfying to have the proper education and training to stand with my country and maintain self-control in the most difficult times. But I’m not going to lie. Over the past five months it has been a real test of my skills as I struggle to compose my thoughts when I see Russian soldiers killing and raping children, women and the elderly in my country, bombing our cities, torturing and massacring our citizens – all proven and documented.
WARNING FOR SENSITIVE READERS: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW
Please note that I will be discussing Russia’s latest war crimes in this column, so this is your fair warning – if you are not ready for such a discussion, please stop reading now.
The past few days have been very tough for my country as Russia has taken one last step to complete its transformation into a 100% terrorist organization.
Russia is losing on the battlefield – it has abandoned most of its initial “objectives” in Ukraine and is now panicking about losing even the small territory it managed to occupy. Over the past few months, our soldiers have managed to destroy 50 Russian military warehouses with missiles, as well as some of their military dislocation locations in occupied cities.
We destroyed the Russian supply chains, which deprived them of their ability to carry out active combat operations. The only way for Russia to get a fight right is to literally “dump” a huge, inhumane amount of missiles on a city, completely destroy it by burning it to the ground, then move in and pretend they have “won”. the battle”. So our army has put an end to this barbaric “tactic” for the time being.
Furthermore, last week our armed forces destroyed the key bridge leading to Kherson, under Russian control. We have crossed the strategic bridge which is absolutely essential for Russia to maintain its supply chain to southern Ukraine.
Russia keeps saying they are fine, but now we have seen all the leaders of Vladimir Putin’s “Yedinaya Russia” party, terrified and fleeing the region, saying they have “completed their humanitarian mission”. We are used to them being scared when they lose.
That doesn’t mean we won, we are literally 40 million out of 160 million of them, with our army ranked 22nd in the world and theirs ranked second. But they certainly have nothing to brag about.
Moreover, our civilians express their hatred and disgust towards the Russian murderers, and they see no change in our behavior. We are not afraid and we are not backing down. This is why Russia decided it was time to follow the terrorist’s playbook and start filming the tortures and massacres and posting them online, to demoralize and scare our nation until it submit.
A few days ago the Russians started spreading the images which I urge you to avoid if you find them online. You cannot ignore it. They uploaded a recording of the Russians severely beating one of our prisoners of war (POW), then restraining and castrating him with a box cutter.
Another recording they put online shows them executing a captured soldier by shooting him in the head and dragging his body into a ditch. All of them have been put online, in the best traditions of Al-Qaeda or Isis.
Andriy Kostin, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, took charge of the investigations into the torture and murder of a Ukrainian soldier. Prosecutor General Kostin said that “extremely violent killings have become a hallmark of the Russian military. The torture and harassment of civilians and prisoners of war is one of the most common war crimes committed by Russian soldiers on our territory. One of the main priorities of the Office of the Attorney General is to investigate these types of crimes.
“But the violence of the latest case, which has been widely shared on social media, is beyond imagination. The video shows the inhumane treatment of a soldier wearing the uniform of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the occupiers. Even prosecutors and investigators experienced in investigating violent murder and torture have been shaken by it.”
And in the same period, we had to face another terrorist type attack from Russia: they massacred our prisoners of war captured after the fall of Mariupol. The UN, Turkey, as well as Russia, guaranteed their lives if they surrendered. So they did. We believe – we know – that the Russians were covering up their atrocities and that’s why they killed them.
Footage shot after the Russians blew up the building where they held our POWs captive showed charred and burned bodies and body parts. They literally burned Ukrainians alive. We are now certain of at least 40 dead among our soldiers, and 130 are seriously burned and injured. I will never tire of repeating it: the world is witnessing the genocide of Ukrainians by Russia.
In response to the world shocked by these barbaric acts committed by the Russians, the Russian Embassy in the UK, for example, tweeted on its official account that they agree with all this. And that they would prefer that Ukrainian soldiers be hanged and not shot, and humiliated before being killed.
And then they shared a link to another Russian propaganda film. It’s Hitler’s kind of diplomacy, nothing less. I’m waiting for the world to finally realize #russiaisaterroriststate.
The next time I intend to talk about the report of the OSCE experts. This report is already out and available to everyone. It documents numerous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities committed by the Russian Federation and its armed forces during the war of aggression in course against Ukraine. DM