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10 people killed waiting in bread line in Ukraine; US embassy demands accountability

Local official tells CNN victims died when shell exploded on Chernihiv street, under attack by Russian forces; drone footage shows surrendering man with hands over head shot dead

Screen capture from video showing people who were killed by Russian forces in the norther Ukrainian city of Chernihiv,  on March 16, 2022. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video showing people who were killed by Russian forces in the norther Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, on March 16, 2022. (Twitter)

Ten people were killed by Russian fire Wednesday as they waited in line for bread in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, the US embassy in Kyiv said, demanding there be accountability for “atrocity crimes.”

Russian forces that invaded Ukraine last month have faced repeated accusations of war crimes as they shell cities and civilian areas.

The US Embassy in Kyiv tweeted, “Today, Russian forces shot and killed 10 people standing in line for bread in Chernihiv.”

“Such horrific attacks must stop. We are considering all available options to ensure accountability for any atrocity crimes in Ukraine,” the embassy wrote.

Footage purportedly showing the aftermath of the incident was published by the Ukrainian website Public, the Daily Mail reported, and showed the bodies of ten people lying in the street.

Another person was seen being helped into a vehicle, although it was not clear what condition they were in.

Head of the regional administration, Vyacheslav Chaus, told Ukrainian television that the people were killed by a Russian shell in a bombardment of the city, CNN reported.

Earlier in the day, drone footage emerged that allegedly showed Russian soldiers killing a Ukrainian civilian as he held his hands up in surrender on a road west of Kyiv last week.

Video published by German broadcaster ZDF and filmed on March 7, showed a car driving along the E40 European highway west of Kyiv. The vehicle was heading towards the capital, but as it approached a Russian tank at the side of the road, the driver quickly turned around before bringing the car to a stop.

The driver got out of the car and raised his hands in the air, but moments later was shot dead. Soldiers could then be seen dragging the body into nearby trees.

A woman and child who were also in the car were led into the forest, ZDF reported, but the video did not show what happened to them. The station said it manage to track down the drone operator who recorded the video and he is a member of the Ukrainian territorial defenses who had been ordered to use the drone, a commercially available Mavic 3, to watch Russian tank activities. He said the car was towed away and burned.

On Wednesday the UN’s highest court ordered Russia to stop hostilities in Ukraine, granting measures requested by Kyiv although many are skeptical that Russia will comply.

“The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the special military operations it commenced on 24 February 2022,” the court’s president, US judge Joan E. Donoghue, said. Countries that refuse to abide by court orders can be referred to the UN Security Council, where Russia holds veto power.

Still, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed it as a major victory.

“Ukraine gained a complete victory in its case against Russia at the International Court of Justice,” he wrote on Twitter. “The ICJ ordered to immediately stop the invasion. The order is binding under international law. Russia must comply immediately. Ignoring the order will isolate Russia even further.”

It came as International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Karim Khan visited Ukraine Wednesday, where he held a video call with Zelensky, the court said.

The pair met virtually, the Hague-based court tweeted.

“We agreed all efforts are needed to ensure international humanitarian law is respected and to protect the civilian population,” Khan said in a statement.

Zelensky posted a video clip from the meeting on Telegram.

Khan also held face-to-face talks in the capital with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.

Khan on Friday urged parties to Ukraine’s conflict not to use heavy, high-explosive weapons in populated areas as the Russian military continued its bombardments of homes and civilian infrastructure.

The prosecutor opened a war crimes investigation into the situation in Ukraine on March 3, after getting the green light from more than 40 ICC states.

Two weeks ago, Ukraine asked the International Court of Justice — also known as the World Court — to intervene, arguing Russia violated the 1948 Genocide Convention by falsely accusing Ukraine of committing genocide and using that as a pretext for the ongoing invasion.

Based in The Hague, the ICC opened its doors in 2002 to try individuals for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression in some cases.

Ukraine has not signed the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty, but in 2014 it formally recognized the court’s jurisdiction over crimes committed on its territory.

Moscow withdrew its signature from the Rome Statute in 2016, which means that the ICC will only be able to prosecute Russians if they are arrested on the territory of a state that respects its jurisdiction.

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