171 cases of sexual abuse by Russian occupiers registered in Ukraine, Zelenska says
ILLUSTRATIVE PHOTO (Photo:MFA_Ukraine / Twitter)
Ukrainian police have identified 171 victims of sexual violence by Russian military personnel, First Lady Olena Zelenka said at the United for Justice international conference in Lviv on March 4.
"This figure is not limited to women – 39 men and 13 minors are among the victims," said Zelenska.
These cases became known only because the victims have the courage to report the abuse, she said, adding that the real number of victims could be much higher as many suffer in silence.
Zelenska said that the number of cases points to a deliberate policy of the Russian army.
"This is their deliberate physical and psychological weapon against Ukrainians," she said.
Zelenska stressed that punishing the Russians for their sexual and other war crimes should serve as a precedent of the inevitability of punishment.
"The victim is never responsible for the crime – only the offender is responsible... The victims should know that the state is always on their side... we all have to guarantee them the most important thing – justice, punishment for their offenders. Punishing the Russians for their crimes will serve as a precedent that will show any potential aggressor that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity," Zelenska said.
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