Russia ‘systematically involved in war crimes’ in brutal takedown

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Russia has been issued with a stern warning for the consequences of its invasion of Ukraine by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as he accused the country of “war crimes”. Mr Wallace said the dictatorship would face “long-term consequences” as he detailed the UK’s continued military aid to Kyiv.

His comments come as Ukrainian officials said today that the Russian had launched over 120 missiles – with many of them targeting civilian infrastructure in a cruel ploy to starve out the defenders.

Another £2.3 billion worth of support is due next year to help Ukrainian soldiers get the weapons they need to stave off the invaders.

During a visiting to Manchester Airport to meet military personnel covering for striking Border Force staff, Mr Wallace referred to comments by former PM Gordon Brown, who had called for a special international war crimes tribunal to be formed.

The Defence Secretary said: “I noticed Gordon Brown’s comments yesterday. Very importantly, we should point out and remind the world that what we’re seeing is Russia breaking international law, systematically being involved in war crimes and rape and all those things.

“You can’t ignore that, we have to all stand up to that and make sure Russia understands that unless it ceases what it is doing now, there will be long-term consequences.”

Mr Brown had raised the topic of international tribunals in a much-read Twitter thread on Wednesday. He drew a comparison with the international declaration which led to the Nuremberg tribunals following the atrocities of World War Two.

The former Labour leader said: “Britain and the United States should now take the lead in not only supporting Ukraine but protecting the legacy of 1945: the Nuremberg moment that gave us the idea of accountability for international crimes.”

He added that calling for these trials could place further pressure on Putin’s allies to limit their support for the despot as his war becomes increasingly cruel and inhumane.

Mr Brown said: “There should be no hiding place for Russia’s warmongers. By striking fear that long prison sentences lie ahead, many of his inner cabal could start to distance themselves from Putin.”

Mr Wallace added that the UK had “recently donated thousands of anti-air missiles” to support Ukraine’s defence.

Britain is also, he said, “providing their knowledge and expertise about making sure we co-ordinary better the air defence on the ground. But also, in parallel, it’s making sure that Ukraine can win on the ground, that it can push back Russia’s forces.”

Ukraine’s emergency services confirmed that five people were injured in heavy Russian strikes across the country today. Three of these were in Kyiv, and included a 14-year-old girl.

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Spokesman Oleksandr Khorunzhy said 10 Ukrainian regions were affected by the strikes, and 28 buildings were damaged. Ten of the buildings damaged were critical infrastructure facilities, while the rest were private homes.

Mr Khorunzhy said: “As a result of the shelling, three men, one woman and one child were injured.”

Melinda Simmons, the British ambassador to Ukraine, claimed that Russia “does not want peace with Ukraine” after today’s bombardment.

She added: “Russia wants the subjugation of Ukraine.”

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