Ukraine war latest: 436 bodies exhumed from Izium mass grave after Russian withdrawal

Full speech: Zelensky tells UN Ukraine is ready for ‘true, honest and fair peace’

Hundreds of bodies have been exhumed from a mass grave in the recaptured town of Izium, the governor of Kharkiv region said.

Oleh Synyehubov told reporters on Friday that 30 of the 436 corpses showed signs of torture.

The mass grave was discovered after Ukrainian troops retook Izium on 10 September. Three others have also been located this month in territory previously occupied by Russian troops, according to Mr Synyehubov.

The exhumation comes as the UN said Russian had committed war crimes in Ukraine, including executions, rape and torture.

Erik Mose, who leads the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Moscow’s troops were guilty of a “large number” of crimes.

There were only two cases involving Ukrainians’ ill-treatment of Russian soldiers, he added.

In other developments, “sham referendums” are being held in an attempt to turn four Moscow-held areas of Ukraine into Russian territory.

The results are expected to be announced on Tuesday and are likely to dramatically escalate the seven-month war, as experts fear Putin will use the referendum results to justify ‘self-defence’.

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West scrambles to bridge North-South divide aggravated by Ukraine war

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told the General Assembly that the war in Ukraine would hinder “our capacity to work together to resolve conflicts elsewhere, especially in Africa, the Middle-East and Asia.”

He said the war was “making it more difficult to tackle the perennial” U.N. issues, such as nuclear disarmament, the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, Palestinians statehood aspirations and a “reduction of inequalities within and amongst nations.”

Some countries have also called out double standards exposed by how the West has responded to Russia‘s war in Ukraine.

South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said founding U.N. principles had not always been applied consistently and fairly, describing the problem as: “We believe international law matters when this one is affected, but doesn’t matter when this other one is affected.”

She said global solidarity was needed to meet other challenges such as energy and food insecurity, climate change, other conflicts and the existential threat of nuclear weapons.

“Instead of working collectively to address these challenges, we have grown further apart as geopolitical tensions and mistrust permeate our relations,” Pandor said.

Polish President Andrzej Duda used his U.N. address to tell “a few words of truth to us“ the leaders of the rich North, or – as others might like to put it – of the West.”

He questioned whether the West was “equally resolute during the tragedies of Syria, Libya, Yemen” and whether equal weight was given to condemning the invasion in Ukraine and issues such as “fighting mercenaries who seek to destabilize the Sahel and threaten many other states in Africa?”

“This is how I see the lesson learnt from this war: if the United Nations is truly to be united, every response to violations of international law should be identical – decisive and principled,” Duda said.

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436 bodies exhumed from mass grave in Izium, says Ukraine

Several weeks after Ukraine recaptured the strategic town of Izium, 436 bodies have been exhumed from a mass grave there, the governor of Kharkiv region said.

On Friday, Oleh Synyehubov told reporters that 30 of the bodies showed signs of torture.

Three other grave sites have been found in areas retaken by the Ukrainian army this month, he added.

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France and international partners announce plans to aid food production hit by Ukraine war

France this week convened a meeting with partners including African nations, United Nations bodies and the European Union to urgently address the international food crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine, said the French Elysee presidential palace.

The meeting, held at the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, comes as President Emmanuel Macron this week urged neutral countries – many of which are in the global South – to side with Ukraine and the West.

“Tensions on the food market are more exacerbated than ever in the context of the war in Ukraine,” the French presidency said in a statement, reiterating its warning of a global food crisis caused by the war.

Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, which started in late February, impacted the market for fertilizers and crops, many of which are produced in Ukraine, and this in turn has led to a sharp rise in food prices.

Ukraine was unable to export most of its crops this year due to the war while energy-intensive fertiliser production was severely hit by soaring power prices across the globe.

“The EU recalled the existing exemptions on all agrifood products and the provision of additional guidelines to clarify the applicability of its sanction regime towards Russia,” the Elysee said, adding it also planned to launch an emergency fertilizer purchase mechanism for Africa.

A meeting with chief executives of fertiliser-producing companies will be convened in Paris ahead of the next G20 Summit in mid-November to scale-up production as fast as possible, the Elysee also said.

“Finally, we call on gas producers throughout the world to take responsibility for limiting price increases and ensuring market transparency, which are essential to maintain fertilizer production capacity in all regions of the world,” added the Elysee.

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Ukraine will never forgive Russia – Russian Nobel laureate

Ukraine will never forgive Russia for a shameful conflict which has thrown back Russia‘s development by half a century to Soviet times predating Mikhail Gorbachev, journalist and Nobel Peace laureate Dmitry Muratov told Reuters.

Russia‘s military campaign in Ukraine has killed tens of thousands, left some Ukrainian cities wastelands and triggered Moscow’s biggest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Muratov, the long-time editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, one of the last independent media outlets in Russia, said Ukraine would never agree to peace or to the annexation of any of its territory.

“Ukraine will never forgive Russia,” Muratov, who co-founded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 with money from Gorbachev’s Nobel Peace Prize, said in an interview in his office, which is adorned with ice hockey sticks and dozens of front pages from the paper.

Muratov said that modern technology had brought the horrors of the war home to people, along with the devastation of the battle for Mariupol in southern Ukraine and the claims of war crimes against Russian soldiers in Irpin and Bucha.

“You many want to forgive everything, but you click in the search engine: Mariupol, Irpin or Bucha. And you can’t forgive a goddamn thing anymore,” Muratov said. “Every step of this war, every crime and every shot, every torn scrotum will now remain forever.”

Ukraine has accused Russia of war crimes. Russia says such accusations are a lie. The Russian government did not respond to a request for comment on Muratov’s remarks.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia‘s soldiers are “heroes” and that all Russia‘s aims will be achieved.

Putin casts the operation in Ukraine as an attempt to foil a Western plot to rip Russia apart. Ukraine says it is fighting an illegal occupation and will never give in.

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‘I don’t want to die’: Russians continue exodus after Putin’s call-up orders to join Ukraine war

Some 7,000 people entered Finland from Russia on Thursday, a more than 100 per cent increase on the same day the week before, the latest figures from officials in Helsinki have revealed.

The exodus comes in the days after Vladimir Putin announced mobilisation of reservists for the war in Ukraine, with some reports that up to one million people will be called up.

Amid grim scenes of farewell across Russia, traffic at Vaalimaa, the busiest crossing point between the two countries was busy on Fridau, with cars lined up for up to 400 metres, a longer queue than the day before, a border official said.

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Berlusconi, on eve of Italian election, says Putin was ‘pushed into war’ with Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir Putin was “pushed” into invading Ukraine to put “decent people” in charge, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has controversially claimed, just days before an Italian general election where his party could help form the new government.

The comments by Berlusconi – whose Forza Italia party belongs to a right-wing coalition expected to win the Sunday’s general election – are likely to alarm Western allies.

“Putin was pushed by the Russian people, by his party, by his ministers to come up with this special operation,” Berlusconi told Italian public television RAI late on Thursday, using the official Russian wording for the war.

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Russian deputy foreign minister: Moscow is not threatening anybody with nuclear weapons

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday that Moscow was not threatening anybody with nuclear weapons and that open confrontation with the United States and NATO was not in Russia‘s interests, Russian state news agencies reported.

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov

(AP)

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Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, including executions and sexual violence, says UN

Electric shocks, forced nudity and executions are some of the war crimes committed in Russian detention centres in Ukraine, the UN’s human rights body have found.

Testimonies from former detainees revealed shocking accounts of human rights violations in the facilities, and expressed grave concerns about executions in the four regions.

The investigators of the Members of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine visited 27 towns and settlements in four of the worst hit regions of Ukraine: Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.

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Watch: Berlusconi says Putin wanted to replace Ukraine government with ‘decent people’

Vladimir Putin was “pushed” into invading Ukraine and wanted to put “decent people” in charge of Kyiv, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has said, drawing fierce criticism just ahead of Italy’s election.

The Italian leader, whose Forza Italia party belongs to a right-wing coalition expected to win the general election on Sunday, is a long-time friend of Putin and his comments are likely to alarm Western allies.

Berlusconi says Putin wanted to replace Ukraine government with ‘decent people’

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Panic exodus is good sign that many Russians don’t want to join Ukraine war, Germany says

Germany said on Friday many Russians being called up to fight in the war in Ukraine do not want to take part, adding that this was welcome.

“Many Russians who are now being called up do not want to take part in this war either. This is a good sign,” a government spokesperson told a regular news conference.

Police officers detain a protestor in Moscow following Putin’s call for partial mobilisation in Russia

(AFP via Getty Images)

“A way must be left open for Russians to come to Europe and also to Germany,” the spokesperson added.

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