UN Report Blames Ukraine in Part for Care House Deaths

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Two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, a care house in the village of Stara Krasnianka was attacked.

Ukrainian authorities blamed Russian forces for the deaths of fifty civilians in an unprovoked attack.

A new report by the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) indicates that Ukrainian soldiers bear some responsibility for the Care House fire.

The U.N. report covers what they assessed are violations of international humanitarian law in the war up until May 15.

According to the report, soldiers from Ukrainian armed forces had entered the care house in Stara Krasnianka on March 7, because the site “had strategic value due to its proximity to an important road.”

The report states that soldiers from Russian-affiliated groups “attacked the care house with heavy weapons, with patients and staff still inside.”

There was no access to water or electricity.

As fighting ensued, fire burst out and some patients fled into the forest. They were met by Russian soldiers who helped them.

“According to various accounts, at least 22 patients survived the attack, but the exact number of persons killed remains unknown.”
Before the attack, Care House management asked authorities to evacuate but reportedly the entire area was mined.

The OHCHR said that it is concerned that both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers launched military operations near civilians. Neither took any measures to protect civilians, as required under international humanitarian law.

“OHCHR is further concerned by reports of the use of human shields, which involves seeking to use the presence or movement of the civilian population or individual civilians to render certain points or areas immune from military operations,” the office added. “The use of human shields is specifically prohibited by article 28 of Geneva Convention IV and article 51(7) of additional protocol I.”

David Crane, a former Defense Department official and a veteran of numerous international war crime investigations, told The Associated Press that Ukrainian forces may have violated the laws of armed conflict by not having evacuated the occupants in the care house.

“The bottom-line rule is that civilians cannot intentionally be targeted. Period. For whatever reason,” he told the news agency. “The Ukrainians placed those people in a situation which was a killing zone. And you can’t do that.”

Ukrainian fighters – Azovs – have long been accused of using civilians as human shields.

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