(CNSNews.com) – Reacting to a Russian missile attack that killed at least 15 people in apartment blocks in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday night that the perpetrators of that and other atrocities would eventually face justice, pointing out that Nazi war criminals had been tracked down even in old age.
“Everyone who gives orders for such strikes, everyone who carries them out targeting our ordinary cities, residential areas, kills absolutely deliberately,” Zelensky said in a nightly address to the nation.
The attack late on Saturday damaged several residential buildings in Chasiv Yar, a town of some 12,000 in the Donetsk region, a major focus of the Russian invasion launched in February.
Emergency services rescued several survivors who had been trapped in the rubble, but the area’s regional governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said at least 24 others were believed to be still trapped.
Another Russian missile reportedly struck an apartment block in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, in the early hours of Monday morning.
In his message, Zelenskyy said that all those responsible for shelling and missile attacks against civilian facilities will eventually be tracked down.
“Nazi murderers are found and brought to justice even when they are 90 or 100 years old. They are caught all over the world,” he said. “Of course, we don’t want to wait that long. But I give this example to show that punishment is inevitable for every Russian murderer.”
Russian diplomats routinely dispute reports about Russian military actions in Ukraine killing civilians, saying its forces involved in the “special military operation” only target military infrastructure.
Ukrainian prosecutors and investigators are recording evidence of alleged war crimes in the invasion, with the support of an “Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group” set up by the U.S., U.K. and European Union in May with a view to help ensure perpetrators are held to account.
“Since the beginning of this invasion, Ukrainian law enforcement officers have been doing everything necessary to record the crimes of the occupiers and to collect evidence,” Zelenskyy said. “Our partners from many countries are involved in this work.”
“Russian terror has long crossed the line beyond which it became obvious to many in the civilized world that it is a matter of global security to punish Russia, a terrorist state, for everything it has done against Ukraine and the international legal order.”
Russian troops last week captured the last important city in Luhansk, the region neighboring Donetsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting the central government since 2014.
President Vladimir Putin said in a defiant speech on Thursday to leaders of Russian political parties that if Ukraine’s Western backers hoped to see Russia defeated on the battlefield, “let them try.”
And, he warned, Russia “has not even started yet in earnest.”
In its most recent update, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva said it has recorded 4,889 Ukrainian civilian fatalities, including 335 children, and 6,263 civilians injured, 521 of them children, since the invasion began.
The OHCHR said it believes the actual figures of civilians killed and wounded are “considerably higher” than the number it has been able to verify.
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