Press release

Russia: Hold the Regime Accountable for War Crimes in Ukraine

The international community must respond decisively to the Russian armed forces’ ongoing atrocities.

In response to the discovery of what appear to be atrocities committed by Russian troops in the Kyiv region, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The mounting evidence of atrocities in the Ukrainian towns of Bucha, Irpin, and Borodyanka, coupled with the callous disregard for civilian lives in the bombing of evacuees at the Kramatorsk train station, only underscores the urgency with which the international community must act to hold the Kremlin accountable for war crimes,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Deeply concerning reports coming out of Mariupol and other areas that are still under siege or occupation by Russian forces indicate that similar or even worse abuses are likely being committed there. International institutions and democratic governments must work with conviction and unity at the highest levels to collect evidence of violations and ensure that the Russian government and all culpable individuals are held accountable for their crimes.”

Background

On February 24, 2022, the Russian regime launched an unprovoked, large-scale invasion of Ukraine, setting off more than a month of fierce fighting in the Kyiv region as Ukrainians defended their capital. After Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel, and other suburbs of Kyiv at the end of March, credible reports and video evidence of war crimes emerged, including instances of mass execution, torture, and rape of civilians by Russian personnel.

Meanwhile, in Mariupol and other areas still under siege or occupation by Russian forces, there have been credible allegations of violations including the forced transfer of thousands of Mariupol residents to Russian territory via “filtration camps.” Journalists, activists, Ukrainian government officials, and others have reportedly been disappeared, held hostage, and tortured in these occupied areas.

Russia was rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2022 and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2021. Ukraine was rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2022 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2021.