Russia Accused of Using Starvation Techniques in Mariupol Siege In New ICC Filing

  • Russia is accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine again.
  • A new report claims the Russian military intentionally starved Ukrainians as a war tactic.
  • Civilians were forced to drink radiator water during a months-long siege. 
  • The ICC will receive the report soon but doesn’t have to act on it.

( – Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed he was liberating Ukrainians who wanted to secede. A new report accuses the adversarial government of starving people, not helping them.

Damning Report

On June 13, Global Rights Compliance, a human rights organization, published a 76-page report that accused Russia of using starvation as a method of warfare during the 85 days it had Mariupol under siege. The Starvation Mobile Justice Team described the siege as “hell on Earth.”

Global Rights Compliance partner Catriona Murdoch said the organization wrote the report to find out if Russia was deliberately using starvation against the Ukrainian people. Ultimately, it appeared they did that by cutting off all of the services the civilians needed to survive.

According to the report, Russia’s military “systematically attacked objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population” like energy, water, and healthcare. Citizens were forced to drink from puddles, melted snow, and even radiators. Russian soldiers also cut off the country’s humanitarian and evacuation routes.

“Then humanitarian evacuations were denied and even attacked, while aid was prevented from getting through,” Murdoch explained.

The report is being submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. While the court accepts submissions from third parties, that doesn’t mean it will act on the information.

What Happened in Mariupol?

Mariupol, which is part of the Donetsk Oblast, was under siege for three months, from March to May 2022. Russia wanted to take control of the city because of its strategic location and port. It’s also a major industrial center. Thousands of people, including innocent civilians, died in the battle. Eventually, the Russian government was able to take full control of the city, and it remains under the invading country’s control.

Nikolai Osychenko lived through the Russian siege and said it was like living through the “Stone Age.” CNN reported that he said the Russian military bombed the electrical substation in early March of that year, and the city “lost electricity.” He said that water and heating were also lost. Almost immediately, residents saw their food go bad because they no longer had electricity to keep it cold.

Osychenko said he lived in an apartment with other people. They all worked to find water. And food. At one point, he claimed they gathered snow and allowed it to melt in buckets so they would have something to drink, but they were only able to get dirty water.

Approximately 90% of the homes and healthcare facilities were destroyed in the siege. Food distribution centers were also bombed.

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