top of page

Russian War Crimes

Loading, please wait


We’re Here to Revolutionize the World of Local Shipping

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022, Russian authorities and armed forces have committed multiple war crimes. The city of Mariupol was one of the worst-hit cities, where according to some estimates with thousands estimated to have been killed and large sectors of the city destroyed.¹ The tragedy of Mariupol is far from over, and the complete picture of the devastation caused is not yet clear. The exact number of the victims in Mariupol, both military and civilians, is still unknown as neither Ukrainian investigators nor UN Mission can access the city.

Russian War Crimes in Mariupol


Medical workers try to save the life of Marina Yatsko's 18 month-old son Kirill, who was fatally wounded during shelling, at a hospital in Mariupol.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Serhii, father of Iliya, cries as his son's lifeless body lies on a stretcher in a maternity hospital being used as a medical emergency facility, in Mariupol. Iliya was playing football with his friends when a missile hit the field. His friends David and Artem were severely injured.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Dead bodies are put into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, March 9, 2022, as people cannot bury their loved ones because of the heavy shelling by Russian forces. According to the BBC, on some days during periods of heavy Russian shelling, up to 150 people a day were buried in mass graves.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Between February and the end of April 2022, Mariupol was likely the deadliest place in Ukraine. The intensity and extent of hostilities, destruction, and death and injury strongly suggest that serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations of international human rights law have occurred.² UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, assesses that up to 90 percent of residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed, as well as up to 60 percent of private houses. An estimated 350,000 people were forced to leave the city. Ukrainian officials say that at least 25,000 people were killed in the fighting in Mariupol and that 5,000-7,000 of them died under the rubble after their homes were bombed.³

Siege of Mariupol


Zhanna Goma (right) and her neighbors settle in a bomb shelter in Mariupol.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press


50 Kg

Payload Capacity

60 Liter

Storage Compartment

This is a space to share more about the business: who's behind it, what it does and what this site has to offer. It’s an opportunity to tell the story behind the business or describe a special service or product it offers. You can use this section to share the company history or highlight a particular feature that sets it apart from competitors.

On March 16th 2022, a Russian air strike attacked the Donetsk Regional Academic Drama Theatre in Mariupol using, most likely, two 500-kilogram bombs. At the time of the attack, hundreds of civilians were in and around the theatre. The theatre was not a valid military objective and was clearly recognizable as a civilian object. The word “CHILDREN” was written in Russian on the ground in front of the theatre in letters that were large enough to be seen by aircraft. Council claimed that about 300 people were killed. A subsequent investigation by the Associated Press concluded that as many as 600 may have died.

Mariupol Theatre Airstrike


The word “Children” on the square in front of the Drama Theater in Mariupol, which was bombed by the Russian troops. Drone footage.

Drone footage captures the extent of the devastation to Mariupol's Drama Theatre after weeks of fierce fighting in the city.

On March 9th 2022, the Mariupol Maternity House and Children’s Hospital was seriously attacked, which resulted in 3 deaths and some 17 injuries, including one injured pregnant woman and her subsequently delivered baby who died later of these injuries. The hospital was clearly identifiable and operational at the time it was hit. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine concludes that the hospital was destroyed by a Russian attack with no effective warning given and no time limit set. This attack, therefore, constitutes a clear violation of IHL, and those responsible for it have committed a war crime.

Mariupol Hospital Airstrike


An injured pregnant woman walks down stairs in a maternity hospital in Mariupol. The hospital was hit hard by a Russian attack on the besieged port city.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

A medical worker clears debris inside of the hospital.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Iryna Kalinina, an injured pregnant woman, is carried from a maternity hospital that was damaged during a Russian airstrike in Mariupol. Her baby, named Miron (after the word for “peace”) was stillborn, and half an hour later Iryna died as well.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, around 20,000 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia. Among them, there are children from Mariupol as well. At Russian President Vladimir Putin's propaganda concert in Moscow on February 22nd 2023, two abducted Ukrainian children were showcased, the two siblings Anna and Karolina Naumenko, whose mother was killed during the city occupation. A Russian politician serving as the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, adopted an abducted 15-year-old child from occupied Mariupol.¹⁰ On March 17th 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Maria Lvova-Belova, allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.¹¹ Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has recognized the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia as genocide.¹²

Abduction of Children


The children of medical workers warm themselves in a blanket as they wait for their relatives in a hospital in Mariupol.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press

Testimonies show that unarmed civilians in Ukraine are being killed by Russian forces in their homes and streets in acts of unspeakable cruelty and shocking brutality.¹³ Mariupol mass burial sites are growing: north-west of the city consists of a large field of graves that Ukrainian officials and witnesses say contains thousands of bodies. According to an analysis of satellite images carried out for the BBC, there are estimates that more than 4,600 graves have been dug there since the beginning of the war.¹⁴

Execution of Civilians


A body lies covered by a tarp in the street in Mariupol, March 7, 2022.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press



Sensors coverage


Improved Reaction Time

This is a space to share more about the business: who's behind it, what it does and what this site has to offer. It’s an opportunity to tell the story behind the business or describe a special service or product it offers. You can use this section to share the company history or highlight a particular feature that sets it apart from competitors.

The Russian Federation is in constant violation of the Third Geneva Convention, which sets out the requirements for the treatment of prisoners of war. Ukrainian prisoners of war suffer from several forms of violence, such as ill-treatment, torture, sexual violence and executions.¹⁷ The International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine still do not have unimpeded and regular access to all Ukrainian prisoners of war.¹⁸ Presidential Advisor and Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Defenders Olena Verbytska claims that around 3,400 Ukrainian servicemen are held in captivity, although this figure appears to be an underestimate.¹⁹

Treatment of Ukrainian Prisoners of War in the Russian Invasion of Ukraine


During the siege of Mariupol, the Azovstal steel plant became one of the most symbolic points. By the end of April, Azovstal became the last center of Ukrainian resistance in the city: about three thousand soldiers and civilians took refuge in its tunnels and bunkers for two months. Azovstal's defenders were constantly under fire, with minimal supplies of water, food and medicine. For several weeks, the Ukrainian authorities and the international community have been looking for a way to safely evacuate the besieged people. Civilians were able to leave Azovstal thanks to the organization of the evacuation by representatives of the Azov Brigade: On May 1st, this process began with the assistance of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Despite the ceasefire, Russian shelling did not stop completely: On May 6th, an evacuation vehicle was shelled. As a result of this attack, three Ukrainian Azov servicemen were killed and six were injured. After the Mariupol defenders helped civilians leave for the government-controlled territory, they were blocked at the Azovstal plant. On May 16th, an agreement was reached, and Ukrainian soldiers could leave Azovstal for Russian-controlled territory between May 16th and 20th. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated that the military had fulfilled their combat mission, and unit commanders were ordered to save the lives of the soldiers. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross registered the soldiers leaving the plant as prisoners of war. The estimated number of Azovstal defenders who were taken prisoner is 2,500. Azovstal was almost completely destroyed by Russian bombardment during the fighting.

The Battle of Azovstal


On July 29th 2022, a building housing Ukrainian prisoners of war from the Azov brigade in a Russian-operated prison in Molodizhne near Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, was destroyed, killing 53 Ukrainian POWs and leaving 75 wounded.²³ In a statement, the Ukrainian General Staff said that the Russian military carried out a “targeted artillery” strike in an attempt to frame Ukraine for war crimes and cover up “the torture of prisoners and executions”.²⁴ On October 11th 2022, the bodies of 62 soldiers, including the prisoners of war killed in Olenivka, were returned to Ukraine. The process of identifying the bodies from Olenivka burned, most likely, by thermobaric weapons, is possible only through DNA analysis.²⁵

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has determined that the attack in Olenivka “was not caused by HIMARS missile”.²⁶

Olenivka Prison Massacre


While the second year of Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine goes on, almost all Russian military and government officials, who have committed brutal war crimes, remain unpunished. This webpage will be updated as more Russian war crimes become known to the general public. 

The most savage torture in Russian captivity was unleashed on Ukrainian officers and Azov brigade soldiers.³³ According to Dmitry Kubryak, a doctor and Azovstal defender released from Olenivka prison, 80% of Ukrainian POWs suffer from anorexia.³⁴ The released Azov fighters witnessed the physical and mental torture on Ukrainian POWs in prison.³⁵​

Testimonies of Ukrainian Soldiers Released from Captivity


After the invasion, Russian forces started establishing filtration camps. There appear to be four types of facilities involved in filtration: (1) registration points, (2) camps and other holding facilities, (3) interrogation centers, and (4) prisons. Detainees are subject to widespread torture, killings, rape, starvation, and other grave human rights violations. Yale researchers determined that Russia and Russia-aligned forces operate at least 21 facilities in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine that are part of the filtration system. ¹⁵ On July 19th 2022, the mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, declared that in Mariupol, there have been four filtration camps where more than 10,000 civilians have been held.¹⁶

Filtration Camps



The greatest concern of the world community is the safety of the war prisoners from the Azov brigade. Members of the Russian State Duma repeatedly call for the death penalty for Azov fighters who are kept in Russia as war prisoners.²⁰ On July 29th 2022, the Russian Embassy in the UK tweeted a call for the humiliating execution of Azov soldiers.²¹ On August 2nd 2022, The Russian Supreme Court declared the Ukrainian Azov brigade a terrorist organization banned in Russia.²² In this way, the Azov fighters are considered, according to Russian law, not as prisoners of war but as terrorists.

Azov Brigade


Russia has prevented the POW exchange for a long time. Especially when it came to the Azov brigade. The Russian State Duma even suggested a ban on exchanging Ukrainian Azov prisoners.²⁷

On September 21st 2022, a prisoner swap involving almost 300 people between Russia and Ukraine was in Ankara. It was the largest POW exchange since the beginning of the war. Russia released 215 high-profile Ukrainian soldiers, including fighters who led the defense of Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant. In exchange, Kyiv turned over 55 prisoners to Russia, including Viktor Medvedchuk, a former Ukrainian lawmaker and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.²⁸

On December 1st 2022, Ukraine obtained the release of 50 Ukrainian POWS, including the prisoners from Olenivka.²⁹ On December 31st 2022, Russia swapped 140 Ukrainian soldiers, including the Azovstal fighters,³⁰ with 82 Russian POWs.³¹ On May 6th 2023, Ukraine returned 45 POWs, 42 of them Azovstal defenders, in exchange for three Russian air force pilots.³²

Azov Brigade Prisoner Exchange


¹ Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine (A/HRC/52/62), published on 15 Mar 2023 by UN HRC, p. 3, at: link 

² Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘High Commissioner updates the Human Rights Council on Mariupol, Ukraine’, at 50th Session of the Human Rights Council, 16 Jun 2022, at: link

³ Hilary Andersson, ‘The agony of not knowing, as Mariupol mass burial sites grow’,, 7 November 2022, at: link

⁴ Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, 9 March 2022, at: link

⁵ Report On Violations Of International Humanitarian And Human Rights Law, War Crimes And Crimes Against Humanity Committed In 4 Ukraine Since 24 February 2022, pp. 46-47, at: link

⁶ Amnesty International, ‘CHILDREN: The attack on the Donetsk Regional Academic Drama Theatre in Mariupol, Ukraine’, Index: EUR 550/5713/2022,, 30 June 2022, at: link


Professors Wolfgang Benedek, Veronika Bílková and Marco Sassòli, ‘‘Report On Violations Of International Humanitarian And Human Rights Law, War Crimes And Crimes Against Humanity Committed In Ukraine Since 24 February 2022’, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, 13 April 2022, at: link

⁹ Ekaterina Fomina, “At Luzhniki concert, children thanked Russian army for rescue”, Важные истории, 24 February 2023, at: link

¹² ‘The forcible transfer and ‘russification’ of Ukrainian children shows evidence of genocide’, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 27 April 2023, at: link

¹⁵ Report by the Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab, 'System of Filtration: Mapping Russia’s Detention Operations in Donetsk Oblast’, 25 Aug 2022, at: link

¹⁸ ‘Russia-Ukraine: ICRC ready to visit all prisoners of war but access must be granted’, ICRC, 16 October 2022, at: link

²¹ Russian Embassy, UK,, 29 July 2022, at: link

⁷ Veronika Lutska, ‘Mariupol defenders left Azovstal more than a month ago. What do we know about them since?’,, 30 June 6 2022, at: link

¹⁰ ‘Putin's Children's Envoy Reveals She Adopted Child From Mariupol’,, 16 Feb 2023, at: link

¹³ Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, ‘Ukraine: Russian forces extrajudicially executing civilians in apparent war crimes’,, 7 April 2022, at: link

¹⁶ Press briefing of Vadym Boychenko, Mayor of Mariupol: Operational and humanitarian situation in the city, 19 July 2022, at: link

¹⁹ ‘Selenskyj-Beraterin: In der Ukraine gelten derzeit 15.000 Menschen als vermisst’,, 30 December 2022, at: link

²² National Antiterrorism Committee,, 19 September 2022, at: link

⁸ The Ukrainian governmental website Children of War: link

¹¹ ‘Situation in Ukraine: ICC judges issue arrest warrants against Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova’, The International Criminal Court (ICC), 17 March 2023, at: link

¹⁴ Hilary Andersson, ’The agony of not knowing, as Mariupol mass burial sites grow’,, 7 November 2022, at: link

¹⁷ Matilda Bogner, Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, ‘Ukraine/Russia: Prisoners of war’, The UN Human Rights Office, 15 November 2022, at: link

²³ ‘At least 53 Ukrainian POWs feared dead after missile strike on prison camp near Donetsk’,, 29 July 2022, at: link

²⁰ Aleksander Kryazhev, “Slutsky offered to make an exception to the moratorium on the death penalty for Azov fighters,”, 17 May 2022, at: link

²⁴ General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,, 29 July 2022, at: link

²⁵ Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, 11 October 2022, at: link

²⁶ Volker Türk, UN Human Rights Chief, 25 July 2023, at: link

²⁷ “State Duma intends to ban the exchange of war criminals from the nationalist Azov regiment”, The Russian State Duma Television, 17 May 2022, at: link

²⁸ Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, 22 September 2022, at: link;

The Security Service of Ukraine, 22 September 2022, at: link

²⁹ Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Offifice of the President of Ukraine, 1 December 2022, at: link

³⁰ Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, 31 December 2022, at: link

³¹ The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, 31 December 2022, at: link

³² Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, 6 May 2023, at: link

³³ Halya Coynash, ‘Ukrainian POWs endure horrific torture by Russian captors’, Human Rights in Ukraine: The Information Portal of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, 1 June 2022, at: link

³⁴ Larisa Kozovaya, “80% of captives with anorexia, skin and bones': former prisoner on the horrors of Russian captivity”,, 27 December 2022, at: link

³⁵ Press conference of "Azovstal" defenders, 22 August 2022, at: link

bottom of page