A court in the central Ukrainian city of Poltava on Tuesday sentenced two captured Russian soldiers to 11 years and six months in prison for their role in the bombing of civilian areas near Kharkiv.
It is the second war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Prosecutors said Alexander Bubekin and Alexander Ivanov served in Russian artillery units that destroyed a school in the village of Dergache, about 12 miles northwest of Kharkiv. A power substation, overhead power lines, residential buildings and a secondary school were also damaged in two villages in the Kharkiv region.
The men, who watched the proceedings from a tempered glass case, pleaded guilty to charges of “violating the laws and customs of war.”
In the first war crimes trial, last week Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting a Ukrainian civilian for the murder of a Ukrainian civilian.
Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia have signed an agreement to join Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine in the Joint Investigation Team that will coordinate the investigation into Russian atrocities through the European Union’s agency Eurojust.
“Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports is paving the way for a ‘catastrophic scenario’ of widespread shortages and price hikes across Africa,” says Senegal’s Macky Sall, chair of the African Union.
On Monday, Russia deported about 320 Ukrainians, including 32 children, from Mariupol to a camp in the village of Bizimeny, Donetsk region, Mariupol Mayor Petro Andryushenko said.
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Ukraine’s leader warns war is not over: ‘We have a lot to do’
More than three months after the Russian invasion, a senior Ukrainian military official warned Tuesday that The end of the brutal conflict that has left much of his country in ruins is not near. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, noted fierce battles for control of the separatist eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk – and other regions as well.
“I think those who said that the war will end very soon, that we have already won and that we will celebrate in April said something serious,” he said. “Unfortunately, the war will continue, and we have a lot to do to win. It is very difficult for us at the front.”
The Russians captured large areas of the important eastern city
Russian forces captured half of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, one of the last major Ukrainian-controlled cities in the Luhansk region, as Moscow continued to make gains in its quest to control the industrial Donbas. Mayor Oleksandr Streuk said Tuesday. He said street fighting and artillery shelling threaten the lives of the estimated 13,000 civilians remaining in the stricken city of Luhansk Oblast, which was once home to more than 100,000. He said more than 1,500 people had been killed in the city since the war began in February.
“The city is basically being destroyed mercilessly, a block of building,” Stryuk said.
Serbia, a staunch ally of Russia, may join the rest of Europe in adopting sanctions against Russia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who was sworn in for a second five-year term on Tuesday, has vowed to keep the Balkan country on the path of its membership in the European Union. Serbia is the only European country that has not joined in punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Vucic announced Sunday that he had secured a “very favorable” three-year natural gas deal from Moscow. European energy sanctions have focused on oil.
“We will have to deal with new sanctions … which can harm us, so we will ask our European partners to help us,” Vucic said. He said that Serbia would not seek NATO membership and would maintain its military neutrality. But he added that Serbia was “not politically neutral” because of its aspirations to the European Union.
European Union leaders reached agreement late Monday on a sixth sanctions package that includes A partial oil embargo was imposed on Russia after an objection from Hungary was resolved.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement, which bans oil deliveries by barge but temporarily excludes pipeline shipments, will “effectively reduce about 90% of oil imports from Russia into the European Union by the end of the year.”
A compromise was reached after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged EU leaders to end “the internal arguments that only pushed Russia to put more and more pressure on the whole of Europe”.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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