Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 25.10.2018
The Russian Federation committed a war crime against civilians in Vodyane, Ukraine on October 24 – United Nations Day.
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation bombarded the territory of the village of Vodyane with 120 millimetre calibre artillery. The Russians shelled a residential area of the village and not Ukrainian army defensive positions outside. When the Russian army targets civilians that’s a war crime, for which the commander-in-chief, Putin, is ultimately responsible.
Vodyane lies just 8 kilometres from the outskirts of the city of Mariupol in free Ukraine. It is very close to the battlefront where the Russian Federation is invading. South-east of Vodyane, the Ukrainian trenches and the Russian trenches are just 350 metres apart.
Understandably, it is difficult to reach Vodyane and the residents who remain there. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been attempting to deliver aid, and finally succeeded. Here is what the ICRC in Ukraine wrote on Twitter on October 24: “The situation in frontline village Vodiane near #Mariupol remains tense, with houses in the village damaged by recent shelling. On 3rd attempt, the weather and security conditions allowed us to reach Vodiane and distribute heating briquettes for the winter, 4 tons to each family.” The “recent shelling” to which the ICRC refers was a previous bombardment by Russian invasion-occupation forces on October 10 with heavy artillery. Shelling of Vodyane on that day damaged or destroyed houses and commercial buildings, as well as cut a power line.
The Russian army shelled Vodyane villagers on the same day, October 24, that the ICRC reported it was delivering humanitarian assistance to them. Neither the status of non-combatants nor the emblem of the Red Cross have any meaning to the invaders of Ukraine from Muscovy.
Ukrainian officers of the the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) will make an assessment of the damage caused by the Russian bombardment. They will share their findings with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. Apprised of the violation of the Minsk Agreement committed by the Russian Federation, the guarantor nations Germany and France have a duty to bring the Putin regime to account. Almost certainly, Germany and France will do no such thing. They will fail their duty. Since the accord was signed on 11 February 2015, the Russian Federation has never once faced any consequences for its repeated violations of every single article of the Minsk Agreement.
Heavy artillery is banned for use by the Minsk Agreement. Putin will face no consequences for using it against Vodyane. Attacking non-combatants is a war crime. Putin will face no consequences for that. Until Russian aggression is confronted and Putin is brought to account, attacks like the one against the village of Vodyane, Ukraine on October 24 will continue.
Photo: OSCE SMM members under Russia's fire in Vodyane early in October