UN human rights chief says Russia is subjecting millions to hardship conditions

FILE PHOTO.  United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk makes a statement during a press conference at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland.  November 2, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
FILE PHOTO. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk makes a statement during a press conference at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland. November 2, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA, Nov 25 (Reuters) – UN human rights chief Volker Turk said on Thursday that Russian attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine since October had killed at least 77 civilians and were plunging millions into a extremely precarious situation.

Much of the country was still without heat or electricity after the most devastating Russian airstrikes to date against its power grid. Since the beginning of October, Russia has launched missiles about once a week in an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian power grid.

Moscow acknowledges attacking basic infrastructure but denies targeting civilians, saying it intends to reduce Ukraine’s fighting capacity and push it to negotiate. kyiv says those attacks are a war crime.

“Millions of people are being thrown into extreme hardship and appalling living conditions by these attacks,” Turk said in a statement.

“Taken together, this raises serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for each target attacked.”

In the same statement, he said preliminary UN analysis of videos that appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers executing Russian prisoners-of-war indicated they were “highly likely to be authentic.” kyiv has previously said it will investigate any alleged abuse by its armed forces.

The UN monitoring team has said that both Russia and Ukraine have tortured prisoners of war.

Turk called on both Russia and Ukraine to give their forces clear instructions on the treatment of prisoners of war, saying all allegations of summary executions must be fully investigated.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; editing in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)

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