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UKRAINE

Spain opens probe into ‘serious violations’ by Russia in Ukraine

The Spanish public prosecutor's office said Tuesday it had opened a probe into possible "serious violations of international humanitarian law by Russia in Ukraine", as accusations of war crimes during Putin's invasion mount up.

Spain opens probe into 'serious violations' by Russia in Ukraine
A father puts his hand on the window as he says goodbye to his daughter in front of an evacuation train at the central train station in Odessa on March 7th, 2022. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

The aim is to “determine the criminal nature” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the office said in a statement, just hours after Germany’s federal prosecutors opened a similar probe.

“The aggression suffered by the sovereign nation of Ukraine is an unjustified act of war that is not covered by any international regulations,” the Spanish prosecutor’s office said.

It has resulted in “serious violations of international humanitarian law,” it added.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced last week that he was going ahead with an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine since Moscow’s invasion on February 24th.

Earlier on Tuesday, Germany’s federal prosecutor said it had opened a probe into suspected war crimes by Russian troops since the invasion.

Like Germany, Spain has repeatedly prosecuted atrocities committed abroad using the legal principle of universal jurisdiction.

This doctrine allows countries to try people for crimes of exceptional gravity, including war crimes and genocide, even if they were committed in a different country.

Russia has come under intense criticism for its assault on Ukrainian cities, in operations that Kyiv and Western governments say have included attacks on schools, hospitals and residential blocks.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Washington has seen “very credible reports” that Russia has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia calls its actions – which have triggered the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two – a “special military operation”.

More than two million people have now fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion, according to the latest data from the United Nations Refugee Agency.

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UKRAINE

Spain sends generators to Ukraine as temperatures plummet

The Spanish government has announced it has sent 14 new electric generators to war-torn Ukraine, where Russian attacks on energy infrastructure have left many without power or warm water as winter fast approaches.

Spain sends generators to Ukraine as temperatures plummet

On Friday “we dispatched a new package of 14 generators in view of what is proving to be a very harsh and difficult winter in Ukraine”, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said.

Kyiv on Friday appealed to European allies for support, saying nearly half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure had been disabled and needed repair.

Madrid last month said it had sent five generators.

Temperatures have plunged across Ukraine in recent days, with the first snow falling on Thursday.

“Due to a dramatic drop in temperature, electricity consumption is increasing daily in those regions of Ukraine where power supply has already been restored after massive missile strikes on November 15th on the energy infrastructure,” said Ukrenergo, an electricity transmission system operator in Ukraine and the sole operator of the country’s high-voltage transmission lines.

Albares said Spain would also dispatch 30 ambulances as well as police reinforcements to help Ukraine investigate possible war crimes on its territory.

Both the European Commission and the European Parliament have warned that the humanitarian situation in Ukraine is the “worst” since the war broke out in February and insisted on the need to provide aid to the country so that it can face the winter.

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