Former Russian Colonel Speaks Out on Atrocities in Ukraine

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.19 - 2023 11:26 AM CET

Former Russian Colonel Speaks Out on Atrocities in Ukraine.

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Igor Salikov, claiming to be an ex-member of Russia's Wagner paramilitary group and a former Russian colonel, has recently defected to provide testimony on war crimes he alleges he witnessed in Ukraine.

Salikov, with 25 years of service in the Russian military and the Wagner Group, has arrived in the Netherlands to present his account to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Salikov's Allegations: A Glimpse into War Crimes

In a revealing interview with Politico, Salikov, aged 60, detailed his observations of atrocities against civilians, including the execution of prisoners of war and child abductions.

He described scenes where secret service agents transported numerous children without parents across the Belarusian border.

These actions, according to Salikov, were executed under direct orders from the Russian defense ministry and President Vladimir Putin's office. While these claims have not been independently verified by Politico, they correspond with several reports of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Defection and Pursuit of Justice

Salikov's decision to flee Russian forces came after he refused to execute civilians. Now, he aims to bring his experiences to light at the ICC, having lost faith in Russia's cause. He also recalled witnessing similar abuses during Russia's 2014 incursion into Ukraine's Donbas region, including civilian threats and murders.

International Response and Legal Implications

The ICC's issuance of an international arrest warrant for Putin in March, over the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia, marks a significant legal move. Additionally, Kyiv and its allies are pushing for a tribunal to investigate Russia's alleged war crimes. Salikov's testimony could play a crucial role in these international legal efforts, adding to the mounting evidence against Russia's actions in Ukraine.

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