Ukraine probing almost 26,000 suspected war crimes cases - prosecutor


FILE PHOTO: Volunteers of the Territorial Defence Forces walk next to destroyed Russian tanks and armoured vehicles, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, April 6, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine is investigating almost 26,000 suspected war crime cases committed since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion and has charged 135 people, its chief war crimes prosecutor told Reuters.

Of those charged, around 15 are in Ukrainian custody and the remaining 120 remain at large, Yuriy Bilousov, head of the war crimes department of the Prosecutor General's office ,said in an interview in the capital Kyiv.

Thirteen cases have been submitted to courts and seven verdicts have been issued, he said.

In May, a 21-year-old captured Russian soldier became the first person to be convicted in a war crimes trial in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. He was sentenced to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian.

"Sometimes we've been asked why we prosecute such...low-ranked officers. It's just because they are physically here... If generals were here physically and we were able to capture (them), we would definitely prosecute generals," Bilousov said.

(Reporting by Sergiy Karazy; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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