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Ukraine's UN envoy: Russia uses sexual violence as weapon of war

by Abbey Fenbert April 24, 2024 6:39 AM 2 min read
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Security Council, attends a Security Council meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York City on April 15, 2024. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The Russian Federation uses sexual violence as a weapon against civilians and prisoners of war, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya said during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on April 23.

Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office has recorded nearly 300 cases of sexual violence committed by Russian forces since the beginning of the full-scale war.

Kyslytsya addressed Russia's weaponization of sexual violence during the Security Council's annual open debate on the worldwide escalation of sexual violence in conflict zones.

Citing testimony from people released from Russian captivity, Kyslytsya said that over 50 percent of detainees suffered torture, rape, or other forms of sexual violence. He also mentioned the Prosecutor General's documented crimes, whose victimes include 188 women, 102 men, and 15 minors.

The recorded figures are likely an undercount, Kyslytsya said.

"Survivors cannot wait until the war is over," he said.  "They need support and justice now."

Ukraine has launched a pilot program to provide emergency financial reparations to victims of sexual violence, Kyslytsya said. The program is supported by the Global Survivors Fund, which advocates for victims of conflict-related sexual assault.

The Russian Federation's representative said Kyslytsya's allegations were unverified and said the debate had become a platform for "political statements, outright lies and manipulation."

Kyslytsya said that Russia's war crimes were documented in reports from the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Opinion: Sexual violence is not a hidden war crime in Ukraine
Working alongside investigators and prosecutors on sexual and gender-based crimes is a horrific experience. It involves listening to, reading, and hearing accounts of unimaginable suffering in sickening detail. To support the work of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, Mobile Justice Teams (MJTs…

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