Religious leaders Ukraine call Russian aggression genocide


Eastern Europe


An Orthodox priest serving during a funeral ceremony after the bloodbath in Bucha earlier this year. Photo AFP, Sergei Chuzavkov

Is the Russian aggression against the Ukrainian people genocide? The Human Rights Commissioner of the Ukrainian Parliament says so. The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious organisations agree.

In a joint statement published by the website of the Ukrainian ombudsman, they write that war is a threat to human life and in the Ukrainian case “an encroachment on the life of an entire nation, that is, genocide.”

The Human Rights Commissioner and the All-Ukrainian Council point out that UN statistics show that 5,587 people died in the conflict until August 22. In addition, almost 8000 people were injured, and nearly 3 million Ukrainians were deported to Russian territory.

According to the statement, the Russian invaders violate human rights as they do not provide information on prisoners of war. Furthermore, messages about torture, psychological and physical pressure and inhumane conditions trickle to the outside world. Therefore, the Council and the Commissioner of Human Rights see it as their primary mission to “search for possible ways to liberate prisoners.”

Calling a bloodbath a genocide has significant implications. If the international community recognises acts of aggression as genocidal, it has the responsibility to stop them. Often, calling something a genocide is controversial. In addition, it is hard to prove whether acts are truly genocidal, as one has to prove that the aggressor intended to wipe out a people completely. Only then the aggression meets the UN definition of genocide.



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