Global Review – 5th April

Zelensky to address UN Security Council

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that later today he will be addressing the United Nations Security Council about the massacres of civilians in Bucha and in other Ukrainian cities. In a video message, Zelensky said they were “interested in the most complete and transparent investigation, the results of which will be made known and explained to the entire international community”. Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in Kyiv-area towns and cities that were recently retaken from Russian forces. In Bucha, more than 100 civilians were found buried in mass graves. The official Twitter account of the United Kingdom’s delegation to the UN also announced the upcoming speech, tweeting, “The UK Presidency of the Council will ensure the truth is heard about Russia’s war crimes. We will expose Putin’s war for what it really is.” Britain, which holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency for the month of April, rejected Moscow’s request for a meeting of the 15-nation Security Council on Monday. British ambassador Barbara Woodward said council members would debate the crisis in Ukraine on Tuesday. This would allow time to prepare for a “well-informed meeting” with inputs from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and others.

Satellite imagery contradicts Russian claims

High-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies collected over Bucha, seems to corroborate recent social media videos and photos that show bodies lying out in the streets for weeks. The images contradict Russia’s claim that the bodies appeared on the city streets after “all Russian units withdrew completely from Bucha” around March 30. Other images show a probable mass grave on the grounds of the Church of St Andrew and the Church of All Saints. Russia dismissed the images as “another hoax” and demanded an emergency meeting on Monday of the UN Security Council regarding “provocations of Ukrainian radicals” in Bucha. The massacre at Bucha has prompted outrage from Western leaders and the US is seeking a vote suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council at the 193-nation UN General Assembly this week, where a two-thirds majority is needed to suspend a country.

Biden calls Putin a ‘war criminal’

As the global outcry mounted over the civilian killings in Bucha, US President Joe Biden has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal and called for him to be put on trial. “You saw what happened in Bucha,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “This warrants him – he is a war criminal.” The discovery of a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range in Bucha, outside Kyiv, a town taken back from Russian troops, looked set to galvanise the US and Europe into additional sanctions against Moscow. Biden said Putin “is brutal. And what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it”. President Zelenskyy spoke on national television from the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region on Monday: “These are war crimes and will be recognised by the world as genocide.” Germany and France have decided to expel scores of Russia diplomats in response to the discoveries in Bucha.

Bucha atrocities ‘staged provocation’ – Russia’s UN envoy

Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzya on Monday rejected allegations that Russian forces had committed atrocities in Ukraine and bashed western Security Council members for blocking Moscow’s request for emergency talks on the crisis, calling it “unbelievable, unthinkable and unprecedented”. Nebenzya said Ukraine had spread “fake news” about civilian killings in north Ukraine.

‘At least 7,000 war crimes’ – Kyiv

According to Kyiv, more than 7,000 war crimes have been recorded since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Attorney General Irina Venediktova told Ukrinform. The investigation teams are made up of representatives of the National Police and the Security Service of the State Investigation Bureau, the prosecutor said, explaining that, in addition, “we have a warcrime.gov.ua portal where all citizens can provide their information on war crimes. There are now more than 7,000 cases.”

‘ 90% of Mariupol destroyed’

Ninety per cent of the besieged city of Mariupol has been destroyed, mayor Vadim Boichenko says. “The city’s infrastructure is destroyed and 40% is irreparable,” he said, adding that “about 130,000 inhabitants” were still trapped in the port city because humanitarian corridors were not working.

1,417 civilians, including 59 children, killed

Since the beginning of the war, the Office of the High UN Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 1,417 dead and 2,038 injured civilians. The dead included 293 men, 201 women, 22 girls and 40 boys, as well as 59 children and 802 adults whose sex is still unknown. There are also 92 children among the injured. It cautioned that this likely was only the beginning. Intense hostilities in areas across the country, especially in the Eastern regions of Donestsk and Luhansk, have prevented independent confirmation. Corroboration is being sought in Mariupol, Izium, Popsana and Irpin.

The ‘girl in the red coat’ becomes real-life heroine

An actress who was the “girl in the red coat” in “Schindler’s List” has turned real life heroine by coordinating help for fleeing Ukrainian refugees. Oliwia Dabrowska appeared in Steven Spielberg‘s 1993 classic aged just three – her red coat providing the only flash of colour in the black-and-white Oscar winner. Her character, a little Jewish girl, was the catalyst that saved the lives of more than 1,200 Jews destined for Nazi concentration camps in 1943. In the film Nazi industrialist Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, sees a young Oliwia walk through the terrified crowds during the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto in 1943. The little girl’s red coat stands out among the sea of grey, and he later spots the child dead on a cart carrying bodies. It is this harrowing experience that convinces Schindler to help the Jews and he decides to draw up a list of Jewish workers in order to spare as many lives as he can. Schindler was credited with saving more than 1,200 Jews from the Holocaust. Schindler’s List won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, seven Baftas and three Golden Globes, and is often ranked among the best films ever made. And now Oliwia, 32, from Krakow, Poland, has taken inspiration from Oskar Schindler and is helping those fleeing war-torn Ukraine. She told followers on social media she was coordinating a group of volunteers who are helping refugees as they arrive at the Polish border. She said she has already found homes for 10 families and ensured hundreds more refugees are transported to major cities in Poland. Livestreaming on Instagram, she said: “I don’t wait for things and no one from our group of volunteers wants to hear thank you, we just do our job.”

Earth inhabitants breathe polluted air – WHO

The World Health Organization has said 99% of the inhabitants of the Earth breathe air containing too many pollutants, blaming poor air quality for millions of deaths each year. Just four years ago, WHO found that over 90% of the world population was affected by the phenomenon. The new data, obtained from a study involving over 6,000 cities in 117 countries, reveals that the problem is most acute in the poorest countries. “After surviving a pandemic, it is unacceptable to still have seven million deaths from air pollution,” said Maria Neira, head of WHO’s public health and environment department. The UN agency stressed the importance of rapidly curbing the use of fossil fuels and WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the importance of moving faster towards the transition, also due to energy price increases.

20 dead in Ecuador prison revolt

Twenty inmates died and 10 were wounded in a revolt that took place Sunday in the Ecuadorian prison of Turi in the province of Cuenca. Interior Minister Patricio Carillo denied that the incidents were caused by overcrowding, saying they were the work of a group dedicated to drug trafficking, trying to take control of the entire centre of the prison. A group of 800 police officers and soldiers have now taken control of the prison.

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