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Russian strikes kill 20 as Zelensky urges ‘special tribunal’ for Moscow

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KYIV: Russian missiles struck Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least 20 people including three children, in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called “an open act of terrorism”.

The midday attack on the city hundreds of kilometres from the frontlines and invading Russian troops came as EU officials convened in The Hague to discuss war crimes in Ukraine.

The charred remains of upturned cars surround by burnt debris were seen in images distributed by officials next to a business gutted by a fire with brown smoke billowing nearby.

“There were eight rockets, two of which hit the centre of the city. Twenty people have died, including three children. There a large, large number of wounded,” Zelensky said during an address European official at The Hague.

Forty-five nations pledge to coordinate evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

The Ukrainian leader led a moment of silence before urging European and International Criminal Court officials during an address to open a “special tribunal” into Russia’s invasion.

“I believe it is inevitable that International Criminal Court will bring accountability to those guilty of crimes under its jurisdiction: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide.”

War crimes tribunal

The United States and more than 40 other countries agreed on Thursday to coordinate investigations into suspected war crimes in Ukraine, shortly after what Kyiv said was a Russian missile strike that killed civilians far from front lines.

The ICC in The Hague opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine just days after Moscow’s forces invaded and it dispatched dozens of investigators to the country to gather evidence.

Russia invaded on Feb 24 and the conflict has seen thousands of people killed, destroyed cities and forced millions to flee their homes.

“Every day, Russia kills civilians, kills Ukrainian children, carries out missile attacks on the civilian facilities where there is no military target.

What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?” Zelensky said after the Vinnytsia attack.

A Ukraine military spokesman said its forces had managed to knock out two from a barrage of cruise missiles that were launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea and caused widespread damage in Vinnytsia.

Deadly strikes in central Ukraine have become relatively rare, but the war has raged around cities like Mykolaiv in the south which the presidency said was hit by a “massive missile strike”.

“Two schools, transport infrastructure and a hotel were damaged,” the presidency said in its morning military update early Thursday.

The skeletal insides of one building gutted by the strikes were visible in images distributed by local officials, with municipal workers clearing bricks and rubble strewn after the attack. The heaviest fighting in Ukraine, however, has focused recently on the industrial Donbas region in the east.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2022

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