It remains to be seen whether the UN will implement appropriate measures against Kiev. Writes Lucas Leiroz
The Russian government is sending data to the UN proving that it was not involved in the attack on the Elenovka detention center, in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Moscow alleges that it was the Ukrainian forces themselves that operated the attack in order to prevent confidential information from being revealed by the prisoners during the court hearings. It remains to be seen whether the case will be investigated by UN observers.
Russian Deputy UN Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was informed by Moscow’s officials of evidence that Ukrainian forces killed Elenovka’s prisoners in a criminal attack. He also emphasized that Russia demands an official position from the UN condemning the attitudes of the Ukrainian side, considering the alleged irrefutability of the data presented by the Russian delegation.
“Today we informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that we have irrefutable evidence of Ukraine’s responsibility for the shelling of Elenovka. The UN should not shy away from condemning this crime of the Kiev regime (…) We have called on the UN to immediately give an objective assessment of what happened”, Polyanskiy said on his social media.
Precise details on what this data and “irrefutable evidence” would be have not been informed yet, but it is expected that in the near future some information will begin to be released. In fact, the Russian government has repeatedly demonstrated complete transparency in its investigative conduct on the case. For example, the Russian Defense Ministry previously reported that Moscow was inviting experts from the UN and the Red Cross to help with investigations about the Elenovka incident, which undoubtedly appears to be a gesture of goodwill. If Moscow were really responsible for the attack, it would certainly prevent international observers from acting in the investigation, but the willingness to invite is a major indication of Russian innocence.
An interesting fact about the Elenovka event is that apparently the weapon used for the bombing was the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) – precisely the deadliest weapon sent by the US to Kiv so far. The sending of HIMARS to Ukraine was a gesture of provocation and hostility on the part of the US, considering that the Russian government has repeatedly asked for the the deployment of long-range missile systems to be avoided. Now, the West can clearly see the result of its pro-Kiev arms-sending policy: war crimes and massacres.
Obviously, the Western media agencies ignore the explanations provided by Moscow and claim that the responsibility for the attack lies with Russia. But a simple analysis of the topic shows that this narrative is unfounded. There was no Russian interest in murdering prisoners. Being soldiers already neutralized and unable to pose a risk to the Russians, there would be no need to kill them. Furthermore, even if this were the Russian wish, surely the weapon used in such an operation would not be an American-made missile.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian interest in annihilating the prisoners seems obvious. As Russia is conducting lawsuits against the captured neo-Nazi militants, Ukrainian authorities fear that strategic information will be passed on during judicial hearings. In this sense, killing the surrendered fighters would be a quick, despite cruel and absolutely anti-humanitarian, way of “solving” this problem. It was expected that at least some of the prisoners had high-value information to share with the Russians – both in terms of Ukrainian military strategy and in terms of war crimes committed by them. So, it is very likely that Kiev actually conducted the bombing.
It remains to be seen now how the UN will analyze the case. Investigations must be carried out in a technical, impartial and neutral manner, not being influenced by the international media, public opinion or Western political agents. On other occasions, investigations about Ukrainian crimes requested by Russia have been neglected by international organizations due to Western pressure (as in the case of the European Court of Human Rights case), and this is something that cannot be repeated now. And, of course, after concluding that Kiev actually bombed Elenovka, sanctions and other coercive measures must be imposed.
In addition, the Elenovka incident needs to bring new discussions about arms-sending to Kiev. Once the US government knows that the weapons sent are being used in war crimes, Washington becomes co-responsible for such crimes if it does not change immediately its policy on sending weapons. More than ever, it is time to seriously think about how Kiev uses the aid it receives from its allies. Undoubtedly, murdering prisoners cannot be considered a good use.
Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Science sat the Rural Federal University of Rio Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.
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