Mariupol: Humanitarian catastrophe as a means of warfare.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine from the first day showed gross disregard for the rules of warfare or, in other words, the principles of international humanitarian law, by both the Russian military command and middle-ranking officers and ordinary perpetrators of criminal orders. The world has seen with its own eyes the large-scale crimes committed by the Russian military in the now liberated villages and towns of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, and calls for a thorough investigation. The humanitarian situation in Mariupol is the same, or even more tragic, where civilians and civilian infrastructure have been the target of a planned military attack for two months.

Residents of Mariupol interviewed by Vostok SOS tell how, step by step, the Russian military created a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe in their hometown.

“It developed quite quickly…” said Mariupol resident Eduard Zarubin. “I don’t remember the sequence – gas, water, light… They started firing on the key supply objects of the city… They immediately aimed at the high-voltage line – these towers holding the wires collapsed. Everything broke down there. The city was without light in one day. Then they hit something into the water, cut off the water supply, the water ran out. The city’s water supply has completely stopped. There was gas left, but then at some point the gas pressure went down-down-down… That’s how they completely put the city to zero. That is, Mariupol is the illustration of what can be done if you want to destroy the city completely”.

Serhiy Vaganov also testifies to the deliberate attacks and systematic attacks on the city’s civilian infrastructure:

“The Russian military is deliberately destroying infrastructure. That is, at first they destroyed the substation – the light and communication were lost. Then they destroyed the pumping stations of two reservoirs – Pavlopol and Old Crimean… They destroyed the food supplies that the city authorities were trying to preserve for residents… It was all destroyed, this food. They destroyed all the buses that the local authorities had prepared for the evacuation [of the population] through the green corridors. Purposefully. Of course, their collaborators, spies, traitors worked in the city. That is, they deliberately destroyed the infrastructure. And even when people went to some streams in search of water, they shot there. It was the destruction of all living things and all that can give life, to continue it”.

The evidence of Eduard Zarubin and Serhiy Vaganov, as well as many other Mariupol residents, describe the violation of the rules of warfare recorded in Article XXV, Article 8 of the Rome Statute, namely:
“Deliberately committing acts of civilian starvation as a means of waging war by depriving it of its necessities for survival, including deliberately obstructing assistance, as provided for in the Geneva Conventions”.

Although the Rome Statute has not yet been ratified in Ukraine yet, its article refers to the Geneva Conventions, which were signed by both the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and are therefore binding. The humanitarian blockade of Mariupol and the deliberate destruction of its civilian infrastructure as a means of waging war are a gross violation of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, and are part of a wider attack on Ukraine’s civilian population.

We remind you that Vostok SOS has been collecting information on war crimes since 2014 in order to ensure justice. If you have witnessed or been a victim of a war crime, report it to Vostok SOS documentaries. We believe that war criminals will definitely be punished!
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