The U.S. has reliable information that Russian military forces executed Ukrainians who were trying to surrender near Donetsk, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
According to Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Beth Van Schaack, the U.S. has credible reports and photos of individuals killed “execution-style” with their hands bound, including bodies showing signs of torture and accounts of sexual violence against women and girls.
“These images and reports suggest that atrocities are not the result of rogue units or individuals; they, rather, reveal a deeply disturbing pattern of systematic abuse across all areas where Russia’s forces are engaged,” she said at a United Nations meeting Wednesday.
Investigators and volunteers have also recorded what U.S. officials have described as a “troubling campaign” of brutality against civilians in towns near Kyiv after Russian forces withdrew from the area.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy detailed reports of killing, rape, and torture in an address to the U.N. Security Council after visiting Bucha. He said Russian forces “killed entire families,” crushed civilians with tanks, cut off limbs, and slashed throats.
►Russia shut off gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday over their support of Ukraine in the war and threatened other countries with similar measures.
►Germany was the biggest buyer of Russian energy during the first two months since the start of the war in Ukraine, according to a study published Wednesday by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
Russia has earned $66 billion in fuel exports since war began, report says
At a time when Russia’s wielding its energy industry like a hammer (and sickle), a new report illustrates how powerful that weapon is.
A study published Wednesday by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air calculates that Russia earned $66.5 billion from fossil fuel exports since its troops invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, with Germany as the biggest buyer.
Using data on ship movements, real-time tracking of gas flows through pipelines and estimates based on historical monthly trade, the researchers figured Germany paid Russia about 9.1 billion euros ($9.65 billion) for fossil fuel deliveries in the first two months of the war.
— Jorge L. Ortiz
Silenced by Putin: A USA TODAY investigation
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power and fortune, he and his associates are suspected of silencing some of those who raised questions about the source of his apparent wealth. Potentially dozens of people have been killed or survived poisonings and other assassination attempts or have had their investigations blocked or shut down, according to USA TODAY interviews and a review of documents and reports.
High-profile victims in the anti-corruption effort include whistleblowers, who tried to figure out how much he is worth and where the Russian leader obtained — and hides — his riches. Read more here.
— Josh Meyer