Finland moves toward joining NATO amid Russia’s threats
Ukraine gains in North, war crime investigators move in
Kyiv: The U.N.’s top human rights body has overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on its investigators to specifically look into possible rights abuses and violations in northern Ukraine shortly after Russia’s invasion.
In a 33-2 vote, with 12 abstentions, the Human Rights Council concluded a special session Thursday on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also by calling on Russia to grant international human rights groups “unhindered, timely, immediate, unrestricted and safe access” to people who have been transferred from Ukraine to Russia or areas controlled by Russian forces or affiliates. Geneva-based UNHCR also said Thursday that the number of refugees who have returned back to Ukraine, either partially or fully, has reached more than 1.6 million.
Meanwhile, a dozen of Russian missiles hit the oil refinery and other infrastructure in the Ukrainian industrial hub of Kremenchuk Thursday. Troops from Ukraine’s Azov Regiment continue to hold out at the Azovstal steelworks, the last bulwark of Ukrainian resistance in the east. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces on Thursday night struck the Chernihiv region and hit schools.
At least two civilians died Thursday as a result of a shelling attack on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Russia has reportedly used cluster bombs and phosphorus munitions in the southern Ukrainian region of Kryvyi Rih, according to the regional military chief. It is north of the Russian-held Black Sea port city of Kherson and is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown.
Russian forces on Monday pounded the southern Ukrainian port of Odesa with missiles, killing one person, as Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the international community to take immediate steps to end the Russian blockade of the country’s ports in order to allow the wheat shipments and prevent a global food crisis.
Russia warns Finland
Russia has warned that it will have to take unspecified “military-technical” steps in response to Finland’s decision to join NATO. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Finland’s accession to NATO will “inflict serious damage on Russian-Finnish relations, as well as stability and security in Northern Europe.” It said in a statement that “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps of military-technical and other characteristics in order to counter the emerging threats to its national security.”