On the War Crimes in Ukraine

Yossi Schwartz ISL, RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 04.04.2022

Massive evidence of Russian war crimes in areas the Russian army withdrew from around Kyiv has surfaced. The videos are graphic and horrid, and the stories being told by survivors paint a picture of Russian forces committing sexual assaults and shooting civilians. Videos show bodies in places like Bucha near Kyiv. “Dozens of corpses were found in the streets of Bucha, outside of Kyiv, shortly after Ukraine retook the town from Russian forces, AFP News Agency reported Saturday night. Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told AFP in a phone call that the streets of Bucha were “littered with corpses” and that 280 bodies have been collected and buried in mass graves since the location was retaken by the Ukrainian military.” [i]

On 29.3.22 according to the UN at least 1,100 civilians have been killed in a month of fighting in Ukraine, a senior UN humanitarian official told the Security Council on Tuesday, stressing that the conflict “shows no signs of abating.” [ii]

By March 31, according to statistics based on information provided by the government of the Ukraine there were 1232 cases of deaths and 1932 were injured. [iii] According to the general prosecutor of the Ukraine from 3.4.22 they found 410 bodies following the retreat of the Russian army from Kiev. [iv] The UN has said more than 1,300 people, including 64 children, have been killed and 2,017 injured in the country. It believes that the actual figures are “considerably higher”. [v] By March 26 Ukraine says Russia’s war killed 136 children so far. [vi] Overall, 4.1million people have so far fled Ukraine to neighboring countries, the UN said[vii]. Which is about 10% of the population. By April 4, the number of Ukrainian refugees was more than 4.2 million. [viii]

If this is true and we tend to believe this information Putin is responsible for war crimes. Yet very few people are aware of the fact that in Syria Assad and the Russian imperialism have killed more than 600,000 Syrians and there are more around 7 million Syrian refugees. At least 350,209 people have been killed in 10 years of war in Syria, the UN says in its first official death toll since 2014. Its human rights chief cautioned the figure is “certainly an under-count of the actual number of killings”. A leading but unofficial UK-based monitoring group recently put the death toll at over 606,000. [ix]

About 6.8 million Syrians are refugees and asylum-seekers, and another 6.7 million people are displaced within Syria. This means 13.5 million Syrians in total are forcibly displaced, more than half of the country’s population. Nearly 11.1 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance. And about half of the people affected by the Syrian refugee crisis are children. [x]

Imperialist hypocrisy is limitless. The Kremlin has categorically rejected accusations that Russian forces were responsible for killing civilians in Bucha, suggesting images of corpses lining the streets were “fakes”.

The Zionist Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday evening became the most senior Israeli official to react to the shocking scenes of civilian carnage from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, saying in a tweet that “it is impossible to remain indifferent in the face of the horrific images from the city of Bucha near Kiev, from after the Russian army left”. He added: “Intentionally harming a civilian population is a war crime and I strongly condemn it.” [xi]

Lapid has firsthand knowledge about war crimes.

In July 2014, Lapid was the Minister of Finance in Netanyahu’s government. This government ordered the Israel army to launch an aerial operation against the Gaza Strip. This special operation, termed “Operation Protective Edge” killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians. [xii] Of the Palestinian fatalities, 551 were children and 299 women. [xiii]

11,231 Palestinians were injured including 3,436 children and 3,540 women, 10 percent of whom suffer permanent disability. More than 1,500 Palestinian children were orphaned142, Palestinian families had three or more members killed in the same incident, for a total of 742 fatalities, 18 thousand housing units were destroyed in whole or part 73 medical facilities and many ambulances were damaged.

While Lapid denounced Russia, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, refused to condemn Russia for war crimes, taking a neutral stance.

We all condemn war crimes,” Liberman told Army Radio in response to a question about the massacre. “There are mutual accusations here – Ukraine blames Russia and Russia blames Ukraine.” Rather than condemn one side, Liberman said, “we need to understand there is a bloody war there and we need to maintain Israel’s moral position and, at the same time, our interests.” He referred of course to Israel bombing Syria in coordination with Russia.

Of course, anyone who will say that the Zionists’ crimes are as bad or worse than the Russian’s crimes in the Ukraine will be accused by the Zionists as Anti-Semite. Nevertheless, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved four pro-Palestinian resolutions, including a call for a limited arms embargo against the Zionist in its 49th session. Out of the four resolutions the “accountability” resolution which spoke of the arms embargo is considered to be the most serious it was approved by the UNHRC in a 37-3 vote, with seven abstentions. The three countries that stood with Israel were: Brazil, Malawi, and the United States, which rejoined the council as a voting member this year in order to protect Israel. All the European Union countries on the council supported the text, including France and Germany.

It urged “all states to refrain from transferring arms when… they assess that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used to commit or facilitate serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.” [xiv]

At the same time Israel has denounced the UN’s appointment of Italian legal expert Francesca Albanese to the post of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, arguing that in the past she has compared the Palestinian Nakba to the Holocaust in World War II. The author of the book Palestinian Refugees in International Law, Albanese has also spoken in videos posted on YouTube of her support of the Palestinian Right of Return to sovereign Israel.

Just as tragic, terrible, unspeakable, is the tragedy that befell the Jewish people in the [Holocaust], so for the Palestinians, the Nakba represents the crumbling of the connective tissue of a people,” Albanese said in the video in which her words were translated into English Albanese – in that same video – said Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinian people was not a war between states, but a “colonial project that has turned into apartheid” [xv]

She did not say that in 1947-8 the Zionists killed 6 million Palestinians. Nor did she say that the Zionists used gas chambers to kill the Palestinians. She referred to the genocide of the Palestinians. She referred to the fact that to create the State of Israel, Zionist forces attacked major Palestinian cities and destroyed some 530 villages. Approximately 13,000 Palestinians were killed in 1948, with more than 750,000 expelled from their homes and becoming refugees – the climax of the Zionist movement’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Today, the refugees and their descendants number more than seven million. Many still languish in refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries, waiting to return to their homeland.

War Minister of Israel Benny Gantz said on Monday:

We will continue to act everywhere in the Middle East where we need to act,” Gantz told Kan Radio when asked whether Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s condemnation will impact coordination with Russia in Syria” [xvi]

None of those responsible for the crimes against the Palestinians will stand a trial. The International Court of Justice in Huge is toothless against the imperialist rulers and it uses its authority only against local rulers of semi colonies that disobeyed the rulers of the imperialist states. For this reason, not only the governments of Israel have not been punished for their crimes but Putin will not be punished by the court of Justice.

The only way to get rid of these mass murderers is the working class and poor socialist revolution.

Down with all the war criminals: Russia, US-NATO!

Victory to the Ukrainian people – No political support for the Ukrainian government!


[i] https://www.jpost.com/international/article-703059

[ii] https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1115042

[iii] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1293492/ukraine-war-casualties/

[iv] https://www.haaretz.co.il/news/world/europe/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-LIVE-1.10715727

[v] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/3/ukraines-president-calls-civilian-killings-by-russia-genocide

[vi] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-says-russias-war-kills-136-children-so-far-2022-03-26/

[vii] https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine

[viii] https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine

[ix] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-58664859

[x] https://www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/syrian-refugee-crisis-facts

[xi] https://www.timesofisrael.com/lapid-says-scenes-from-ukraines-bucha-horrific-targeting-civilians-a-war-crime/

[xii] UN Human Rights Commission Report Summary, para 20.

[xviii] Ibid., para 20

[xiv] https://www.jpost.com/international/article-703093

[xv] https://m.jpost.com/israel-news/article-703115/amp

[xvi] https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-703149

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