NEW YORK – The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights announced that it has documented patterns of Russian torture and abuse of POWs in Ukraine as well as violations by Ukraine in caring for POWs.
OHCHR said it has identified “gross violations” of international human rights law committed by Russian forces and Russian linked mercenaries. One such violation includes the brutal execution of a POW during an interrogation session with Russian forces.
“For example, several Russian servicemen forced two wounded Ukrainian servicemen with broken legs to crawl about 500 meters to the closest Russian position, filmed them and posted the videos online,” the United Nations OHCHR released in a statement. “The most widespread forms of torture or ill-treatment were beatings by hand, batons or wooden hammers, and kicks to various parts of the body, but usually avoiding the head and other vital areas. Electric shocks were also used, both with tasers and the TAPik field military telephone TA-57.”
OHCHR said it also documented cases of torture or ill-treatment by Ukrainian forces against captured Russian POWs. OHCHR revealed that Ukrainian forces used physical violence towards Russian POWs, including punching, kicking, stabbings, and electrical shock.
OHCHR officials said they have interviewed 159 POWs held by the Russians and 175 POWs held by Ukraine. Both belligerents have signed the Third Geneva Convention which obligates belligerents to treat all POWs in a human manner.
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s king announced on Tuesday he will choose the country’s next prime minister, after the leading two candidates failed to secure a majority in last week’s election.
Last weekend’s election ended in an unprecedented hung parliament with neither front runner, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim nor former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin capturing a majority to form a government.
To end the deadlock, King Al-Sultan Abdullah had suggested the candidates work together to form a ‘unity government’, but Muhyiddin bluntly refused to work with Anwar. Muhyiddin leads the Malay Muslim conservation alliance that is in opposition to Anwar’s multi-ethnic coalition party.
King Abdullah had given both political parties until 2 pm on Tuesday to form a government. After failing to form a coalition government, the King is now obligated, under Malaysia’s constitution, to appoint a prime minister he believes can form a majority government. Both Anwar and Muhyiddin were summoned Wednesday to meet with the King, along with other lawmakers in hopes of reaching an informed decision.
At a press conference, Anwar said the King desired to form a strong government that was inclusive and focused on economic matters. Anwar’s coalition won 82 seats, but an Islamist party, that is aligned with Muhyiddin’s coalition, which supports sharia law won 73 seats. The incumbent Barisan party only won 30 seats. 112 seats are needed to form a simple majority government.
TOKYO – A Japanese official said North Korea test fired a missile on Friday that could potentially reach the continental US.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada announced that a suspected North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile flew 620 miles at a maximum altitude of about 3,600. Hamada added that depending on the weight of a missile warhead it could threaten at a range of 9,320 miles, which could put the US at risk from a North Korean nuclear strike. According to Hamada, the suspected missile was a Hwasong-17 which can hold multiple nuclear warheads to counter anti-missile defense systems.
“North Korea has been repeatedly launching missiles this year at an unprecedented rate and is significantly escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Hamada said at a press conference.
ROME – Italy’s industry minister declared that Italy will not be dependent on Chinese trade or technology and will safeguard vital strategic industries from foreign influence..
At a recent press conference, Adolfo Urso, Minister of Economic Development, commented on China based Cosco’s recent purchase of shares in a German port terminal in Hamburg operated by logistics firm HHLA. HHLA also operates in the Italian port of Trieste.
“We will not put ourselves into the hands of the Chinese,” Urso said in a response to journalists. “If others intend to move from energy dependency, and therefore from Russian power, to technological or to some extent commercial dependence on China, we will not follow them.”
Urso, a member of the Brothers of Italy, was sworn in last week after his appointment by newly elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Prime Minister Meloni has indicated that she will not support Italy’s 2019 agreement to join the controversial Belt and Road initiative controlled by China.
Urso, under direction from Meloni, plans to utilize anti-takeover laws to prevent foreign powers from bidding on strategic Italian industry vital to the nation’s survival. Anti-takeover laws, also known as the “Golden Powers” have been invoked by former Italian prime ministers.
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law on Wednesday in the four annexed regions of Ukraine.
Putin’s declaration takes effect Thursday and gives regional law enforcement agencies three days to submit specific proposals and the creation of territorial defense forces in the annexed regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.
The upper house of Russia’s parliament is expected to rubber stamp Putin’s declaration of martial law which will most likely impose travel restrictions, censorship, public gatherings, and unchecked authority for law enforcement. There has been talk that martial law could also be coming to the Russian homeland as dissent grows over Putin’s recent military conscription decree and overall failure in conducting the “special operations” against Ukraine.
A weakened and humiliated Putin recently ordered the conscription of 300,000 military reservists to bolster his defeated military in Ukraine. Russian forces have been put through the meat grinder in Ukraine and some estimates place Russian losses at 50,000 to 70,000 soldiers.
KIEV – Russian forces have expanded air operations against Ukraine on Tuesday with punitive strikes on key energy and water supplies, which may put hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians at risk for a brutal and deadly winter.
The Ukrainian government announced that nearly one-third of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed in the past week by Russian air strikes.
Russia has adopted the strategy of crushing the morale of the Ukrainian poplace with repeated air strikes on key power stations and vital infrastructure just as winter begins to blanket the region. Although pilotless, so-called “Kamikaze” drone aircraft have struck Kiev and other targets in Ukraine along with repeated missile strikes.
However, Ukrainian forces are gnawing at the heels of Russian ground forces in eastern Ukraine. Even Russian General Sergei Surovikin, recently appointed the Area of Operations commander, has admitted that things remain “very difficult” in the southeast region and he expects a new offensive by Ukrainian forces in the coming weeks.
It was revealed that Iran is supplying Shahed drones to Russia for use in Ukraine. The use of these drones places Russia, who has denied their use, in possible violation of the 2015 controversial UN endorsed nuclear deal with Iran.
The Ukrainian government has urged western and NATO countries to supply them with sophisticated air defense systems to counter the new Russian air offensive.