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Ukraine updates: Russian 'war crimes' reported in Kherson

November 13, 2022

Ukraine's Zelenskyy says investigators have uncovered over 400 "war crimes" committed by Russian forces in the region. Meanwhile, Russian strikes hit multiple regions in eastern Ukraine. DW rounds up the latest.

A destroyed car is seen on a highway to Kherson city
A destroyed car is seen on a highway to Kherson cityImage: Valentyn Ogirenko/REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his regular nightly address on Sunday that investigators working in the southern Kherson region have uncovered more than 400 "war crimes" committed by Russian troops. 

Moscow had announced withdrawal from Kherson city. The retreat represents a major setback for Russia as it was the only regional capital it had captured since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine in February. 

While there are still Russian forces in the Kherson region, Ukraine's army has reported retaking several towns, as well as the capital, Kherson city.

"In the Kherson region, the Russian army left behind the same atrocities as in other regions of our country, where it was able to enter," Zelenskyy said, adding that the bodies of Ukrainian civilians and troops were found in Kherson. 

"We will find and bring to justice every murderer. Without a doubt," he added.

Several Western leaders have accused Russia of committing war crimes after seeing the destruction in regions following Moscow's forces retreat. Ukrainian officials have also reported finding mass graves in those areas.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently probing potential war crimes conducted by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Celebrations in Kherson amid devastation and danger

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on Sunday, November 13

Ending war 'best thing we can do for global economy' — US Treasury

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said ahead of a G20 meeting in Indonesia that ending the war in Ukraine is the "best thing" that can be done for the global economy.

"Ending Russia's war is a moral imperative and the single best thing we can do for the global economy," Yellen said.

Rising fuel and food prices, in part caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are one of the main topics of discussion at the G20 summit.

Scholz regrets Putin's G20 snub

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it was a shame that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending next week's G20 summit in Indonesia.

Speaking in Hanoi, Vietnam, Scholz said Putin would have to face fierce criticism of the war he launched in Ukraine.

"He would have had to expose himself to all the questions and all the criticism that has been formulated by many countries in the world. That's probably why he's not here."

Scholz and other leaders of the G20 group of advanced economies are due to meet on the Indonesian island of Bali on Tuesday for a two-day summit. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is to hold a video address for them.

Putin canceled his participation a few days ago and will now be represented by his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

De-mining underway in Kherson

Authorities in the city of Kherson were working Sunday to restore critical infrastructure after Moscow announced its troops had withdrawn from the strategic city. 

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the governor of the Kherson region, was quoted by media as saying Russian troops had "mined all critical infrastructure objects."

Zelenskyy said on Sunday that one was killed and four were injured during de-mining work. The president asked residents to "be very careful and immediately inform the rescuers about all dangerous objects."

Train services to Kherson were expected to resume this week, according to the head of the Ukrainian state railways, but another regional official, Yuriy Sobolevskyy, told Ukrainian TV that the humanitarian situation "remains very difficult." 

"Most houses have no electricity, no water and problems with gas supplies," Sobolevskyy said. 

Russia claims advance in Donetsk, Ukraine reports strikes on multiple regions

Russia's Defense Ministry said its soldiers captured the village of Majorsk in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk. 

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine, but the Ukrainian army reported earlier that fierce fighting was ongoing in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russian rocket and artillery fire hit the eastern areas of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Novopavlivka and Zaporizhzhia, according to Ukraine's general staff.

Ukrainian officials say Russian troops stole raccoon and other animals

The founder of an animal rights movement in Ukraine said Russian forces had stolen animals from a local zoo in Kherson.      

"They have taken most of the zoo's collection to Crimea: from llamas and wolves to donkeys and squirrels," Oleksandr Todorchuk, founder of UAnimals said on Facebook.

According to local media, a Moscow-backed official in Crimea had ordered the "evacuation" of animals. 

A raccoon, allegedly among the "stolen" animals, especially attracted attention on social media, with Ukrainians posting memes calling for its release like, "Save Private Raccoon," in reference to the multi-award-winning war film Saving Private Ryan.

Odesa's zoo offers refuge for animals

Ukrainian railways offer symbolic tickets to occupied cities

After Kherson's liberation, Ukrainian railways are offering symbolic tickets to cities that are still under Russian control. 

The tickets, which cost around 1,000 hryvnias ($27.40), can be used after the cities are liberated.

"Today you can order tickets for the first three trains from Kyiv to five cities: already de-occupied Kherson, as well as Mariupol, Donetsk, Luhansk and Simferopol," the railway operator said on telegram messaging apps.

"The ticket can be purchased, kept as a symbol of faith in the Armed Forces and the liberation of Ukraine from the occupiers," it said. "As soon as traffic is restored, railway officials will send a message with the date and location."

Sledgehammer execution of ex-Russian mercenary uploaded to social media

A video purportedly showing the execution of a former Russian mercenary who switched sides is circulating on Russian social media in what pro-Russian bloggers said was revenge for his alleged treachery.

The unverified video shows the man identifying himself as 55-year-old Yevgeny Nuzhin. He is claiming to be now supporting Ukraine in the war.

He said he was abducted in Kyiv on October 11 and was brought to a basement.

"I got hit over the head and lost consciousness and came around in this cellar," he said. "They told me I was to be tried."

The footage shows Nuzhin's head taped to a brick wall and as he speaks, an unidentified man loitering in combat clothing behind smashes a sledgehammer into the side of his head and neck.

Nuzhin collapsed onto the floor and the unidentified man delivered another blow to his head.

It was also unclear how Nuzhin, who told Ukrainian media in September that he wanted to fight for Ukraine, ended up in the hands of what appear to be Russian forces.

mm, fb/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Interfax, Reuters)