Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as Ukrainian cities are shelled - The Telegraph - 28.02.22

Cluster bombs allegedly used against Kharkiv, while six-year-old girl dies in doctors’ arms as children fall victim


By Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter ; Roland Oliphant, Senior Foreign Correspondent, in Dnipro ; Nataliya Vasilyeva, Russia Correspondent, in Moscow and Victoria Ward.


Vladimir Putin was on Monday accused of war crimes after the indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities killed potentially dozens of civilians including three children who were "incinerated alive".


A doctor trying in vain to save the life of a six-year-old girl after her family home was bombed turned to a television camera and said: "Show this to Putin. The eyes of this child, and crying doctors."


Ukrainian officials said 16 children had been killed in the first four days of fighting, but that number is likely to have risen significantly on Monday after the deadliest attacks on civilians since the start of the invasion.


Among the dead was schoolgirl Polina, pictured below with a pink streak in her hair, who was killed by Russian saboteurs in Kyiv along with her parents and brother, according to officials.


Boris Johnson said the UK will "continue to bring maximum pressure to bear" on Russia as he pledged that Putin would "feel the consequences" for invading Ukraine.


On the eve of a trip on Tuesday to Poland and Estonia to meet allies and British troops, Mr Johnson said the Russian president "must fail" after his decision to send troops into the neighbouring country.


On the fifth day of the war, the Kremlin ordered the bombardment of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city.


There were also allegations that the invading army had used a thermobaric missile - or vacuum bomb - in contravention of the Geneva convention.


Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, alleged the Russians had deployed the missiles, which contain a highly explosive fuel and chemical mix and send out supersonic blast waves that can rip buildings and bodies apart.


There were claims that Russia had deployed cluster munitions in dense urban areas, maximising civilian casualties. It was previously accused of using cluster bombs in its war in Syria.


Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said he would begin a war crimes investigation into the Russian invasion as "rapidly as possible".


The Ukrainian interior ministry said on Monday: "Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by Grads [rockets]. Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded."


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A doctor trying in vain to save the life of a six-year-old girl after her family home was bombed turned to a television camera and said: 'Show this to Putin. The eyes of this child, and crying doctors' Credit: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

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