Russia’s war is ‘genocidal,’ says independent report by scholars and genocide experts
Evidence shows that Russia is inciting genocide in Ukraine intended to “destroy” the Ukrainian people, an independent report signed by more than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts said.
The report was the first to investigate allegations of genocide committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. It cited examples of mass killings and rapes of civilians, dehumanizing language by Russian officials to describe Ukrainians, and mass deportations.
“What we have seen so far is that this war is genocidal in its nature, in terms of the language being used and the manner in which it is being executed. That’s very, very clear,” Azeem Ibrahim, a director at the U.S.-based think tank New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, said.
That think tank in produced the report in conjunction with the Canada-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.
The report’s authors described a “genocidal pattern of destruction” and “consistent and pervasive atrocities against Ukrainian civilians collectively,” citing the mass graves, executions, and destruction of hospitals, shelters and other civilian facilities in numerous parts of the country.
Ibrahim urged countries to act, saying, “Every country that is a signatory to the Genocide Convention, and that’s 151 countries including the Russian Federation, every country has to do whatever it can to put a stop to this, otherwise they will also be in breach of the convention.”
CNBC has contacted Russia’s foreign ministry for comment.
— Natasha Turak
Russian artillery hits central Kharkiv, nine people killed: Regional governor
Russian artillery strikes hit the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, for the first time in a week and killed nine people, its governor said. The strikes came as Russian forces intensify their bombardment of cities all over Ukraine’s east.
Paramedics and emergency workers carry a man wounded in shelling in Kharkiv on May 26, 2022, on the 91st day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sergey Bobok | AFP | Getty Images
The governor of Kharkiv, Oleh Synehubov, posted to Telegram to say that doctors were providing all necessary assistance to all Kharkiv residents who were injured.
“The enemy continued to shell the settlements of Kharkiv region at night. A boarding school in Lyubotyn was damaged as a result of enemy shelling. Chuguiv was also shelled at night. Dwelling houses were damaged,” he said.
“I emphasize once again that it is impossible to relax in any case,” the governor also said. “The enemy acts insidiously and purposefully strikes at civilians. Do not be on the streets unnecessarily and do not ignore air alarms.”
— Natasha Turak
Russia has the ‘upper hand’ in Donbas fighting: Ukrainian military official
A view shows Ukrainian positions being hit by shelling from a Russian TOS-1A, on a field near Novomykhailivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine in this still image taken from an undated video seen on social media May 25, 2022 and obtained by REUTERS May 27, 2022.
Social Media | Reuters
A Ukrainian military official admitted that Russian forces are gaining ground in the fighting in the Donbas, as Ukrainian forces fell back in from some of their positions there.
Oleksiy Gromov, a member of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said during a briefing in Kyiv that Russia had the “upper hand both in aviation and in artillery,” but that domestic forces were “trying with all our might to change the situation,” according to news agency Interfax.
Just 5% of the Luhansk region remained in Ukrainian control, down from roughly 10% just over a week ago, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said. He added that Ukrainian forces were retreating in some areas.
— Natasha Turak
UK’s Boris Johnson calls Putin a ‘crocodile’
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, Russia May 23, 2022.
Ramil Sitdikov | Sputnik | Reuters
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about the difficulty of reaching a negotiated settlement with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.
“How can you deal with a crocodile when it’s in the middle of eating your left leg? What’s the negotiation? That is what Putin is doing,” Johnson said in an interview with Bloomberg Friday.
“We desperately need it to end. The world needs it to end,” he said, suggesting a way for the Russian leader to save face so that he could exit Ukraine. “The one way that it can end is for Putin to accept that the ‘denazification of Ukraine’ has taken place and that he’s able to withdraw with dignity and honor.”
Putin launched the war on the false premise of “denazifying” Ukraine, a democratic country with a Jewish president. Ukrainian officials reject the idea that Putin would withdraw from the country if given concessions like ceded territory, arguing that it would only embolden him to go further.
— Natasha Turak
Russian forces capture several villages in the Donbas
This photograph taken on May 25, 2022 shows a general view of a destroyed building after a strike in Kramatorsk in the eastern Ukranian region of Donbas.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images
Russian forces have captured several villages in the Donbas north-west of Popasna, as they make gradual progress in their efforts to surround Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense wrote in its daily intelligence update on Twitter.
“Russia is pressuring the Severodonetsk pocket although Ukraine retains control of multiple defended sectors, denying Russia full control of the Donbas,” it wrote.
The invading forces have also likely brought 50-year-old T-62 tanks out of storage, the U.K. ministry wrote, in order to support troops in the south tasked with occupying parts of southern Ukraine.
“The T-62s will almost certainly be particularly vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia’s shortage of modern, combat-ready equipment,” the post said.
— Natasha Turak
Officials say the U.S. is preparing to approve sending long-range rocket systems to Ukraine
A Multiple Launch Rocket System shoots during an artillery live fire event on March 4, 2020. The U.S. is preparing to enhance military aid to Ukraine by sending advanced, long-range rocket systems that are now the top request from Ukrainian officials, CNN cited multiple officials.
Christof Stache | Afp | Getty Images
The U.S. is preparing to enhance military aid to Ukraine by sending advanced, long-range rocket systems, according to CNN, which cited multiple officials.
The Biden administration is considering sending the systems as part of a larger package of military and security assistance to Ukraine, which could be announced as soon as next week, CNN reported.
Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have requested for the U.S. and its allies to provide them with the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.
Those systems can fire numerous rockets from an extensive distance away — much further than any of the systems Ukraine already has, CNN reported. Ukraine argues it could be a gamechanger in its war against Russia, according to the report.
The Biden administration has been hesitant to send the systems over the National Security Council’s concerns that Ukraine may use the systems to carry out offensive attacks on Russia, said CNN, citing officials.
The officials also added the administration is concerned that sending heavy weaponry to Ukraine might be viewed by Russia as a provocation that could prompt retaliation against the U.S., CNN reported.
— Chelsea Ong
U.S. defense official says Russia is making ‘incremental progress’ in Donbas
A Ukranian serviceman looks into a crater and a destroyed home in the village of Yatskivka, eastern Ukraine on April 16, 2022. Russia is making “incremental progress” in Donbas after little progress was made through its earlier two tactics, a senior U.S. defense official said in a briefing.
Ronaldo Schemidt | Afp | Getty Images
Russia is making “incremental progress” in Donbas after little progress was made through its earlier two tactics, a senior U.S. defense official said at a briefing.
“We assess that Russia has made some incremental gains in its push towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk; not a lot but, but some incremental gains,” he said, referring to two cities in the northern portion of Donetsk Oblast.
The Donbas refers to two eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk — two Russian-backed “People’s Republics”. Russian officials have said their new main objective is the “complete liberation” of the t of Luhansk and Donetsk.
Russia is trying to encircle the Donbas region by pinching off the far-eastern regions of Ukraine, the defense official said. However, no new advances by Russian troops were made in the Donetsk region, the official added.
— Chelsea Ong
White House expects Russia to default on its debt, sees limited effect on global economy
People line up near Euro and U.S. dollars rates to ruble sign board at the entrance to the exchange office on May 25, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. Russia moved closer to a default on Wednesday after the U.S. Treasury let a key sanctions exemption expire.
Konstantin Zavrazhin | Getty Images
The Biden administration expects Russia to default on its sovereign debt, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Moscow “will likely fail to meet its obligation and face default, an enduring sign of their status as a pariah in the global financial system,” she said. Jean-Pierre added that the White House expects “minimal” effect on the global economy because Russia has “already been isolated financially” by a wave of sanctions.
When the U.S. sanctioned the Russian central bank earlier this year, it allowed an exception for Russia to pay its bondholders through U.S. banks. The Treasury Department lifted the carveout this week, raising the prospect of a default.
— Jacob Pramuk