Ukraine’s First Lady has made an emotional call for help to stop invading Russian forces from using sexual assault and rape as a weapon of war in Ukraine.
“The opportunities for the occupiers [has] widened to humiliating Ukrainians and unfortunately sexual violence and sexual crimes are within their arsenal,” Olena Zelenska said in an address to the UK parliament in London, the BBC reported.
“We have documented thousands of crimes including sexual violence. The youngest girl who was raped by the Russian occupiers was four years old. The oldest survivor was 85.”
In a further shocking allegation, Volodymyr Zelenksy’s wife claims it is the partners of Russian soldiers who encourage them to rape Ukrainians.
“We see that the Russian servicemen are very open about this,” she said. “They talk about it over the phone with their relatives, from phone conversations we’ve managed to capture. In fact, the wives of Russian serviceman encourage this, they say, go on, rape those Ukrainian women, just don’t share this with me, just don’t tell me.”
'World must hold Russia accountable'
Speaking at the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiaitve conference on Tuesday (local time), Ms Zelenska said the world must hold Russia accountable for its crimes in Ukraine.
She’s now calling for a special United Nations tribunal to be set up to address alleged Russian war crimes, arguing the International Criminal Court doesn’t have the legal force to punish Moscow for its invasion.
“Sexual violence is the most cruel, most animalistic way to prove mastership over someone,” she told delegates at the UK-hosted event. “This is another instrument that they [Russian forces] are using as their weaponry. This is another weapon in their arsenal in this war and conflict. That’s why they’re using this systematically and openly.”
Ms Zelenska went on to say that Ukrainian authorities are currently investigating over 100 cases of alleged sexual assault but that the number is only a small faction of the truth.
“For victims of this kind of violence it is difficult to testify in war times because nobody feels safe,” she said.
with Yahoo UK
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