Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 03.02.2019
In an act of barbarity, Russian occupation troops shot up a funeral in Ukraine on Saturday. The invaders fired upon and struck a minibus containing mourners near the village of Chermalyk, north-east of Mariupol soon after noon on February 2nd. By good fortune nobody was injured but bullet holes were evident in the minibus after the attack.
The Russian military formation in this sector of the battlefront is the 1st Army Corps (Donetsk or so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”) of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. These soldiers are recruited, armed, paid, and led by Russians from the Russian Federation. Make no mistake: the war in eastern Ukraine is international war. The Russian Federation is invading Ukraine.
Attacking non-combatants – civilians who do not take a direct part in hostilities – is a war crime. Putin is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. He is ultimately responsible for shooting a funeral bus in Chermalyk.
Ukrainian officers serving with the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) investigated and reported the shooting incident. The JCCC follows up on reports of ceasefire violations, which violate the Minsk Agreement of 11 February 2015. The Russian Federation withdrew its officers from the JCCC in December 2017, without explanation.
The JCCC reports that a minibus carrying the remains of the deceased and clearly marked “Ritual Services” came under fire as it was entering the cemetery near Chermalyk. Armed units of the Russian Federation and their mercenaries did the shooting, from firing positions across the Kal’mius River. Several bullet holes were noted on the right side of the minibus after the attack.
Three civilian men committed the body to the earth while the driver got the minivan to a safe area. The Russians continued to shoot at the cemetery with small arms for some time.
“The Ukrainian side of the JCCC condemns the actions of the occupation administration and armed groups of the Russian Federation with regard to the shelling of settlements, which endangers the lives and health of the civilian population. The fighters continue to violate all norms of international law,” read a statement from the Joint Forces Operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.