Russian military invaders continue to commit sexual crimes in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Often the victims are children, some even younger than ten.

On Sept. 19, in an interview with Ukrainian media platform Livyi Bereh, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported incidents of violence against minors perpetrated by Russia’s occupying forces. Five children aged 4 to 16 have already been identified, victims of sexual abuse, prosecutor Andriy Kostin said. He noted that there were similar war crimes in the occupied territories.

“It’s a difficult job. We work with children using a system called a ‘green room’ – with the direct involvement of a psychologist. He is beyond the visual observation of the child but helps. It isn’t easy. But in some cases, evidence emerges that can be used in these criminal proceedings,” Kostin added.

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According to the Prosecutor General, there are now several dozen cases related to sexual crimes. A special task force was created to investigate such cases, and the staff of prosecutors was expanded. Kostin added that sexual violence during the war is a specific and sensitive area of activity that requires trained specialists.

“A very high level of ‘latency’ characterizes sexual crimes. I apologize for this word since it is a legal term. There are many more occurrences than is known, because many do not want to communicate their experience for various reasons. So we can only rely on those facts for which we have certain statements and for which certain indications are given,” Kostin explained.

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One of the reasons for the dismissal of the former Ombudsman for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova was her handling of the investigation into sexual war crimes. According to ex-Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova, Denisova had not transferred information about the rape investigations through the proper channels.

After his appointment as prosecutor general, Kostin stated that evidence of war crimes committed by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation should be “bulletproof.”

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There are currently about 50 women held captive by the Russians. One of them is about to give birth, and another is in the fourth month of pregnancy, said Olena Tolkachova, head of the Azov’s Angels charitable foundation. Russian invaders do not follow the agreements and do not give access the prisoners.

 

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