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EU calls for war crime tribunal over mass graves in Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

The European Union presidency has called for the establishment of an international tribunal for war crimes after new mass graves were found in Ukraine.

“In the 21st century, such attacks against the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent,” said Jan Lipavsky, foreign minister of the Czech Republic which holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

“We must not overlook it. We stand for the punishment of all war criminals,” he wrote in a message on Twitter on Saturday.

“I call for the speedy establishment of a special international tribunal that will prosecute the crime of aggression.”

The appeal follows the discovery by Ukrainian authorities of about 450 graves outside the formerly Russian-occupied city of Izyum, with some of the exhumed bodies showing signs of torture.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his evening address, said “new evidence of torture was obtained” from the bodies buried there.

“More than 10 torture chambers have already been found in various cities and towns liberated in Kharkiv region,” he added, describing the discovery of electrical implements for torture.

“That’s what the Nazis did. This is what Ruscists do. And they will be held accountable in the same way – both on the battlefield and in courtrooms,” he said, using the term “Ruscists” for “Russian fascists”.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Kharkiv, said the situation in Izyum looks “gruesome on many levels”.

“Izyum is now a desolate city, completely destroyed. There’s barely a building that hasn’t been at least partially damaged, and I’m talking about civilian targets here – apartment blocks, schools, pharmacies, the church – a very desolate picture,” Abdel-Hamid said.

“It’s a place where you see the real toll of this war. It’s a city that has been besieged, that has been bitterly fought between the two sides. It’s now firmly under Ukrainian control. You see the soldiers roaming the streets, but there’s barely any sign of life.”

‘Probably 1,000 tortured and killed’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the mass graves likely provided more evidence that Russia is committing war crimes in its pro-Western neighbouring country. French President Emmanuel Macron described what had happened in Izyum as atrocities.

The Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, said there were “probably more than 1,000 Ukrainian citizens tortured and killed in the liberated territories of the Kharkiv region”.

The United Nations in Geneva has said it hopes to send a team to determine the circumstances of the deaths.

The macabre discoveries came a little more than five months after the Russian army, driven out of Bucha near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, left behind hundreds of corpses of civilians, many of whom had signs of torture and summary executions.

On Thursday, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said she wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin to face the International Criminal Court over war crimes in Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart against using chemical or tactical nuclear weapons in the wake of serious losses in his war in Ukraine.

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said, in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes aired on Friday evening.

“You would change the face of war unlike anything since World War II,” Biden said.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC, said the “director of the CIA in April warned Congress that there’s a possibility that President Putin could deploy nuclear devices”.

“It’s also important to note that President Putin in 2020 signed a Russian military doctrine, which states clearly that Russia will use nuclear devices if other countries utilise nuclear devices against them, but then – and this is the key point – it could also respond with nuclear weapons to the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened,” Hanna said.

“Many military experts do not see a possibility of Putin using a nuclear weapon. However, many say that this does not rule out the fact that he may threaten the use, in other words, to escalate, to de-escalate, to get out the parties to the negotiating table.”

‘Pushing them back’

On the ground, Ukrainian forces have recaptured thousands of square kilometres in recent weeks, thanks to a counteroffensive in the northeast, and now threaten enemy positions in the south, as the fighting and bombings continue.

The Russians “are angry because our army is pushing them back in its counteroffensive”, said Svitlana Shpuk, a 42-year-old worker in Kryvyi Rih, a southern town, and Zelenskyy’s hometown, which was flooded after a dam was destroyed by Russian missiles.

Synegubov said an 11-year-old girl had been killed by missile fire in the region.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine which has been partially controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014, said on social media that a thermal power plant was “shelled by Russian invaders” on Saturday morning in Mykolaivka.

Ukrainian firefighters were battling the blaze, he said, adding that the Russian shelling had led to interruptions to drinking water supply.

“The occupiers are deliberately targeting infrastructure in the area to try to inflict as much damage as possible, primarily on the civilian population,” he charged.

He had earlier reported that two civilians had been killed and 11 wounded in the past 24 hours by Russian fire.

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King Charles III to host South African leader in state visit

King Charles III will welcome South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to the U.K. for three days of high-level talks next month, celebrating the first state visit of his reign with the leader of a Commonwealth member with close ties to the royal family

LONDON — King Charles III will welcome South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to the U.K. for three days of high-level talks next month, celebrating the first state visit of his reign with the leader of a Commonwealth member with close ties to the royal family.

Ramaphosa has accepted Charles’s invitation for a state visit from Nov. 22-24, Buckingham Palace said Monday. The South African leader will be accompanied by his wife, Dr. Tshepo Motsepe.

Charles has visited South Africa on several occasions since 1997. At Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013, he said the world would be a “poorer place” without the man who led South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a multi-ethnic democracy, adding that Mandela was owed “an enormous debt of gratitude” for his achievements.

The King and Camilla, the queen consort — then the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall — welcomed former South African President Jacob Zuma to the U.K. at the start of a state visit in 2010.

Charles’ sons, Princes William and Harry, have also visited South Africa a number of times.

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Follow all stories on the British royal family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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With 52% of Brazil votes tallied, far-right incumbent Bolsonaro has a slight lead over ex-President Lula da Silva

With 52% of Brazil votes tallied, far-right incumbent Bolsonaro has a slight lead over ex-President Lula da Silva

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Haiti reports cholera deaths for first time in 3 years

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti’s government on Sunday announced that at least eight people have died from cholera, raising concerns about another potentially catastrophic epidemic like the one that broke out a decade ago and killed nearly 10,000 people.

The cases – the first cholera deaths reported in three years – came in a community called Dekayet in southern Port-au-Prince and in the gang-controlled seaside slum of Cite de Soleil, where thousands of people live in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

“Cholera is something that can spread very, very quickly,” warned Laure Adrien, director general of Haiti’s health ministry.

Food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration that can be deadly.

The United Nations said in a statement that it is working with Haiti’s government to “mount an emergency response to this potential outbreak,” stressing that health teams need to be guaranteed safe access to areas where cases have been reported.

The deaths come as a lack of fuel and ongoing protests shut down the availability of basic services across Haiti, including medical care and clean water, which is key to helping fight cholera and keep patients alive.

Haiti’s most powerful gang continues to control the entrance to a main fuel terminal in the capital of Port-au-Prince, leading to a lack of fuel amid soaring prices that have unleashed widespread protests that have paralyzed the country for more than two weeks.

The absence of fuel and increasing number of roadblocks have prevented water trucks from visiting neighborhoods to provide potable water to those who can afford it. It also has prompted some companies to temporarily shut down operations.

On Sunday, Caribbean Bottling Company said it could no longer produce or distribute potable water because its diesel reserves were “completely depleted,” adding that the lack of such a vital resource would affect “all sectors of society.”

Adrien said health officials were trying to visit communities where cholera has been reported, but that his agency, too, has been affected by a lack of fuel as he called on people blocking the gas terminal and organizing protests to “have a conscience.”

“This is a real problem,” he said of how the country has virtually been paralyzed. “We’re hoping this will not spread.”

Adrien noted that all those who died were unable to reach a hospital in time.

Haiti Health Minister Alex Larsen said people have a right to protest but asked Haitians to allow potable water supplies into neighborhoods that have been cut off by roadblocks and protests.

“Water has not been in these areas for a long time, and people are not drinking treated water,” he said, adding that cholera cases could spike again. “We ask people who can afford it to add a little chlorine to the water.”

Haiti’s last cholera epidemic sickened more than 850,000 people in a country of more than 11 million, marking one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the preventable disease in recent history.

United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal were blamed for introducing cholera into Haiti’s largest river in October 2010 by sewage. The U.N. has since acknowledged it played a role in the epidemic and that is has not done enough to help fight it, but it has not specifically said it introduced the disease.

Haiti would have been declared cholera-free by the World Health Organization only after reaching three consecutive years with no new cases.

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Associated Press writer Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed.

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