UK sends war crimes experts to Ukraine – Foreign Office

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LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it was sending experts to help Ukraine with gathering evidence and prosecuting war crimes, with a team due to arrive in Poland in early May.

Ukraine says it is investigating some 7,600 potential war crimes and at least 500 suspects following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbour.

“Russia has brought barbarity to Ukraine and committed vile atrocities, including against women. British expertise will help uncover the truth and hold (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s regime to account for its actions,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

The announcement comes as Truss travels to The Hague to meet with International Criminal Court President, Judge Piotr Hofmanski, and her Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra.

“The specialist team will assist the Ukrainian government as they gather evidence and prosecute war crimes and will include experts in conflict-related sexual violence,” said a foreign office statement.

Moscow calls its actions a “special operation” aimed at degrading Kyiv’s military power and protecting Russian-speakers living in the east of the country.

The bodies of 1,150 civilians have been recovered in Ukraine’s Kyiv region since Russia’s invasion and 50-70% of them have bullet wounds from small arms, Kyiv police said on Thursday.

Kyiv regional police chief Andriy Nebytov said in a video posted on Twitter that most of the bodies had been found in the town of Bucha, where hundreds of corpses have been discovered since Russian forces withdrew.

Ukraine says the civilians found dead in Bucha were killed by Russian forces during their occupation of the area. Reuters has not been able to verify the number of people found dead in Bucha or the circumstances of their deaths.  

Russia has denied targeting civilians since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. It has called allegations that Russian forces executed civilians in Bucha while they occupied the town a “monstrous forgery” aimed at denigrating the Russian army.

Photo – Worker exhumes bodies from the mass grave near the St. Andrew and All Saints Church in Bucha city of Kyiv (Kiev) area, Ukraine. EPA-EFE/OLEG PETRASYUK

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