More than 60 countries gather in The Hague, Netherlands, to begin prosecuting Russian war crimes.

Dimitri Kuleba and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hanke Bruins.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimitri Kuleba and his Dutch counterpart Hanke Bruins on April 2 in The Hague. Photo: Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is entering its third year and there is no end in sight. Since February 2022, thousands of people have died and several hundred remain disabled, raped, tortured, expelled and scarred for life by the horrors of war.

Coordinated by the Dutch government, the EU Commission and Ukraine, representatives from a wide range of institutions met in The Hague on Tuesday to advance the prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression and address payments of compensations.

More than 60 countries have been working on these projects since the start of the war. One goal is to start a special court to hold Russia accountable, particularly for crimes of aggression. “Russia must be punished and justice must be achieved for all victims,” the Dutch Foreign Ministry said. Ukraine supporters should agree on this. However, it is unclear whether compensation payments will be made soon. Although billions of dollars in Russian assets have been frozen, their release and new use are stalled.

“The world saw the evil in Butscha's eyes.”

On Tuesday at the conference the first record of damage reports from victims of the Ukrainian war was opened. According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 100,000 alleged war crimes have been documented so far. In The Hague, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba recalled the massacre of civilians in Bucha about two years ago. This has become a symbol of Russian atrocities in Ukraine. “The whole world saw the evil in Butscha's eyes.”

In recent weeks, the Russian military has once again increased its attacks against energy suppliers and critical infrastructure in Ukraine. As a result, power supply was cut off for long periods in many regions. Homes, schools, gymnasiums and concert halls were destroyed. The Ukrainian military is currently under enormous pressure, particularly due to a lack of ammunition and air defense systems, as international allies are not implementing their weapons commitments.

Ukraine is increasingly defending itself from the aggressor with drone attacks on oil refineries and wants to dry up an important source of financial income for Russia. Russia is the world's second largest oil exporter. According to media reports, the attacks paralyzed about 14 percent of the country's refining capacity.

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