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Ukraine is reportedly preparing war crimes charges against at least seven members of the Russian military.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office told Reuters that three Russian pilots suspected of bombing civilian buildings in the Kharkiv and Sumy regions, two operators of a rocket launcher who allegedly bombed settlements in the Kharkiv region and two soldiers suspected of killing a resident of the Kyiv region and raping his wife were among those under investigation.
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The office added that the individuals had been informed that they were suspects and that investigations were continuing, although no charges had been filed with the court.
Ukraine says it is investigating some 7,600 potential war crimes and at least 500 suspects.
The United Nations (UN) has also opened its own investigation into possible war crimes. According to the agency, war crimes include the targeting of civilian populations, willful killing or widespread suffering and destruction, among other violations.
Notably, the prosecution of the International Criminal Court joins a joint investigation team set up by Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland to investigate the atrocities committed during the invasion.
Even as photos of bodies were taken along city streets and mass graves, Russia denied targeting civilians and Moscow accused kyiv of genocide against Russian speakers.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused NATO of “pouring oil on the fire” with its support for Ukraine. He also warned of a Third World War and said the threat of nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated”.
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UN Secretary-General António Guterres – who has called for a ceasefire in Ukraine – is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday before traveling to Kyiv later this week.
On Tuesday, the British Ministry of Defense said Russian soldiers had taken the town of Kreminna in the Ukrainian region of Lugansk, about 355 miles southeast of the Ukrainian capital.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said three people died after Russian shells hit a residential building in the town of Popasna.
Four people died and nine were injured on Monday after a Russian bombardment in the Donetsk region – among the victims were a 9-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Tuesday that two more people had been killed and six others injured.
In Kharkiv, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said shelling of civilian areas had killed three people and injured seven others. Rocket fire was also reported in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Ukraine’s general staff said the country’s forces had repelled six attacks in the past 24 hours in the two regions that make up Donbass.
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While the UN human rights office said on Tuesday it had counted 2,729 people killed and 3,111 injured in the fighting since February 24, it acknowledges that the tally only includes confirmed casualties and that the toll will likely be much higher.
The UN refugee agency predicts that up to 8.3 million people will have to flee the country by the end of the year.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.