Ukraine War: Ukraine/Russia Prisoners Of War Exchange, Russia To Impose Sanctions, And Cluster Munitions
UKRAINE (May 12, 2022)–Ukraine has offered to release Russian prisoners of war in exchange for the safe evacuation of the badly injured fighters trapped inside a steel mill in the ruined city of Mariupol.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Wednesday that negotiations were under way and that there were different options, but “none of them is ideal”.
These negotiations are happening while the country’s top prosecutor has disclosed plans for its first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier.
General Iryna Venediktova said her office had charged Sergeant Vadin Shyshimarin, 21, in the killing of an unarmed 62-year-old civilian who was allegedly gunned down while riding a bicycle in February, four days into the war.
Shyshimarin, who served with a tank unit, is accused of firing through a car window at the man in the north eastern village of Chupakhivka.
Venediktova said the soldier could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
It comes as Finland announced it wants to join NATO as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.
President Sauli Niinisto said the country, which shares an 810-mile border and a difficult past with Russia, must apply for membership to the organization “without delay”.
In a joint statement with the country’s prime minister Sanna Marin, they added: “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”
• Moscow has begun imposing sanctions of its own – with restrictions placed on owners of gas pipelines
• UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace met with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon for talks on “the next steps” in Ukraine and to discuss the importance of transatlantic cooperation.
• New report from Human Rights Watch claims both Russia and Ukraine have used indiscriminate cluster munitions in the conflict.
On the battlefield, reports are emerging of more pushback of Russian forces in a Ukrainian counterattack that could signal a shift in the momentum of the war.
Ukraine’s armed forces’ general staff said it had recaptured Pytomnyk, a village on the main highway north of the
second largest city of Kharkiv, about halfway to the Russian border.
However, the southern port town of Mariupol continues to take a pounding and Ukrainian officials have issued dire warnings about civilians and the last fighters after weeks of Russian bombardment which the city’s mayor said had turned it into a “medieval ghetto”.
‘Shocking scale of unlawful killings’
The UN human rights chief has said a thousand bodies have been recovered in an area of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in recent weeks, adding that many incidences may amount to war crimes.
“The scale of unlawful killings, including indicia of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv, is shocking,” Michelle Bachelet told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council via videolink.
The Human Rights Council will decide later whether to task investigators with an official probe into the events that occurred in Kyiv and other regions in February and March.
Russia denies targeting civilians and describes its action in Ukraine as a “special military operation” to disarm the country and rid it of what the Kremlin calls anti-Russian nationalism instigated by the West.
Russia tries its own sanctions
Moscow has reportedly begun imposing more sanctions of its own – with restrictions placed on the owner of the Polish part of the Yamal pipeline that brings Russian gas to Europe.
It is also applying them to the former German unit of the Russian gas producer Gazprom, whose subsidiaries service Europe’s gas consumption.
But Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck, in turn, said it may be able to cope with a boycott of Russian gas imports as soon as the coming winter.
Source: Sky News