EU seeks international tribunal for "war crimes" after a mass grave is found, and Biden warns Putin not to use tactical nuclear or chemical weapons.

Ukrainian authorities discovered around 450 graves outside the formerly Russian-occupied city of Izyum with some of the exhumed bodies showing signs of torture.
Ukrainian authorities discovered around 450 graves outside the formerly Russian-occupied city of Izyum with some of the exhumed bodies showing signs of torture. (AFP)

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Trudeau: Ukraine mass graves part of Russian war crimes

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said mass graves found in Ukraine were evidence of Russia's war crimes, adding that full accountability for its actions was needed.

Trudeau, in London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, told reporters that he had met with British Prime Minister Liz Truss and that Russia's actions in Ukraine were at the top of their agenda.

Those actions "increasingly, clearly include war crimes, include absolutely unacceptable crimes, whether we think of what we found in Bucha or the discovery of mass graves in the reclaimed territories by Ukraine," he said.

Unclear how Russia will react to battlefield setbacks in Ukraine – top US general

The top US Army General Mark Milley has cautioned that it was still unclear how Russia might react to the latest battlefield setbacks in Ukraine and called for vigilance among US troops as he visited a base in Poland aiding Ukraine in the conflict.

"The war is not going too well for Russia right now. So it's incumbent upon all of us to maintain high states of readiness, alert," Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Warsaw following a visit to a base hosting US troops.

Milley said he was not suggesting US troops in Europe were at any increased threat, but said they had to be ready.

Queen of Soviet pop comes out against Ukraine offensive

Russian pop superstar Alla Pugacheva has denounced the Ukraine conflict and the "death of our boys for illusory goals" amid severe repression of any anti-Kremlin criticism.

The legendary crooner publicly spoke out about the Ukraine offensive for the first time after her husband Maxim Galkin was recognised as a foreign agent - a label reminiscent of "enemy of the people" that has been used extensively against opponents, journalists and human rights activists.

"I am asking you to include me on the foreign agents list of my beloved country," 73-year-old Pugacheva said on Instagram in solidarity with her husband, who wanted "the end of the deaths of our boys for illusory goals that make our country a pariah and weigh heavily on the lives of its citizens".

Ukraine searches for its dead at burial site 

Dressed in white protective suits and wearing rubber gloves, Ukrainian emergency workers have dug up more bodies from a wooded burial site in territory recently recaptured from Russian forces, while townspeople looked for dead relatives.

Ukraine says hundreds are buried at the site discovered this week, including at least 17 Ukrainian servicemen found in a mass grave on Friday and others who may be civilians buried in individual graves marked with flimsy wooden crosses.

The causes of death have not yet been established, although residents say some of the graves near the town of Izyum were of people who died in an air strike. Ukrainian authorities have said at least one of the bodies had tied hands and rope marks on the neck.

Moscow has not commented on the discovery of the graves. It regularly denies committing atrocities or targeting civilians.

Australia rules out ban on Russian tourists as part of sanctions

Australia will not ban Russian tourists from entering the country as part of sanctions on Russia over its assault on Ukraine, Defence Minister Richard Marles has said.

Since the start of the conflict, Australia has sanctioned hundreds of Russian individuals and entities, including most of Russia's banking sector and all organisations responsible for the country's sovereign debt.

Asked if Australia would also ban Russian tourists, Marles said sanctions were aimed at Russia's government, "not the Russian people themselves." "This is not something we are considering at the moment," he told ABC television.

Russian forces in occupied Kherson city 'neutralise' armed gang

Russian security forces have fired on an armed gang of criminals in the centre of the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson and "neutralised" them, Tass news agency reported.

Kherson, in the south of Ukraine, was occupied by Russian troops shortly after the February assault started and Kiev is vowing to retake it.

"A group of armed persons that had been identified put up resistance. Russian security forces quickly went to the site and neutralised the criminals," Tass cited a security source as saying. There were no civilian casualties, the source added.

For live updates from Saturday (September 17), click here

Source: Reuters