When Russian soldiers burst in, Ohla was told to hand over her daughter and come upstairs. Her ordeal was just starting (2023)

When war came to the Ukrainian village of Malaya Rohan on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Olha and her family fled to the basement of a local school.

There were about 40 of them, mostly women and children, and as the days passed the group stayed hidden in fear,surviving as best they could while fighting raged above them.

OnMarch 13, about two weeks after the Russian army entered Olha’s village, there was the sound of windows breaking at the entrance to the school. The door to their hiding place was smashed down and in the broken frame, a Russian soldier stood with his assault rifle and a pistol.

The basement that had sheltered Olha, her five-year-old daughterand others from the village for so many days had been discovered.

WARNING: This story contains details that may distress some readers.

The soldier told the group to line up and then began to give orders: one of the few men in the group was singled out to take the soldier to find food. When they returned, Olha was told to hand over her daughter. She refused. Instead, the soldier walked up to her and demanded she leave her daughter with the group and follow him.

When Russian soldiers burst in, Ohla was told to hand over her daughter and come upstairs. Her ordeal was just starting (1)

They went up to the second floor of the school and into an abandoned classroom. The soldier pointed one of his guns at Olha and told her to undress. He shot into the ceiling, pushed the barrel of the gun into her temple for “motivation”, Olha says, as he forced her to perform oral sex. Then he raped her.

Later, when Olha was putting on her clothes, the soldier told her his name and that he was Russian and was 20 years old. “He told me I reminded him of a girl he went to school with,” Olha says.

Then he raped her again, dragging a knife across her cheeks and throat; using it to slice off chunks of her hair. After that, he beat Olha’s face and body with a school textbook.

The next day, the soldier left.

When Russian soldiers burst in, Ohla was told to hand over her daughter and come upstairs. Her ordeal was just starting (2)

How many Ukrainian women are being raped?

Across Ukraine, accounts of rape by Russian soldiers are growing.

Last month thetrial of the first Russian soldier to be charged with rape as a war crime began in a Kiev court.It could be the first of hundreds of such cases.

By early last monththe Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had received 124 official reports of alleged sexual violence committed across Ukraine during the war.

Yet the real statistics are almost certainly far higher, and all but impossible to quantify.

“To investigate sexual crimes … when we are still in the military conflict, is very difficult. The victims are actually scared,” Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova has said.

As a result, Natalia Karbowska from the NGO Ukrainian Women’s Fund, describes sexual violence in war as “the most hidden crime”.

Olha, 31, whose real name is suppressed, revealed her story to researchers from Human Rights Watch who are active in Ukraine documenting sites of suspected sexual violence, interviewing witnesses and victims.

Their job is a race against time.

A vast majority of cases are likely to remain unrecorded because the victims have fled the war or have not had an opportunity to report their experiences; because they have since died; because the shame and trauma they feel makes it too difficult to talk about it out loud.

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The urgency remains, not just to encourage victims to speak out, but to document their stories before the evidence left behind is lost forever.

Yet even with carefully documented evidence, the path to a successful prosecution is far from straightforward.

When Russian soldiers burst in, Ohla was told to hand over her daughter and come upstairs. Her ordeal was just starting (3)

Could Vladimir Putin be held accountable?

As stories ofsexual violence mount it’s reasonable to ask what vulnerable women will gain in recounting their trauma? In the chaos of war, can anyone be held accountable?

Sexual violence is one of the most commoncrimes in a conflict zone, classified by international lawunder three of the most serious categories: a war crime, a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.

Yet while sexual violence in war inhas beenofficially condemnedsince 1863's Leiber Code, 1907's Hague Convention, and again in 1949’s Geneva Convention — which was signed by Russia — it was 1993 before rape was recognised as a crime against humanity and 1998 before it was classified as a war crime by the statute of the International Criminal Court. In 2008 the UN Security Council listed sexual violence as a war crime, crime against humanity and act of genocide.

For rape to constitute a war crime it must have taken place during an armed conflict. Under this definition individual soldiers — like the soldier who assaulted Olha— can be prosecuted.

Some international law experts have expressed concern thatrushing to hold trials during hostilities is unwise.

Sara Meger, a lecturer in international relations and specialist in sexual violence during conflict at the University of Melbourne, believes the reports of sexual violence gathered so far in Ukraine are likely to lead to war crimes convictions down the track.

"War crimes include [things like] wilful inhuman treatment and serious injury to civilians, regardless of military strategy. So any commission of rape by a member of the armed forces while on active duty would, I believe, fit the definition of war crime," she says.

For rapeto be judged a crime against humanity — in which senior Russian commanders or even Vladimir Putin himself can be accused despite never setting foot on the battlefield — it must be linked to a widespread or systematic attack against civilians.

For it to be considered genocide, intent to destroy a populationmust be proven.

Lawyers and human rights groups are already investigating whether Russia can be accused of weaponising rape in Ukraine,but identifying victims and offenders is complex. The burden of proof is rigorous. In the anarchy of a war zone, when evidence can be quickly lost in the next atrocity and victims or witnesses flee without trace, pinning down the facts to a standard acceptable in an international courtroom can be insurmountable.

Yet support for an international trial to prosecute war crimes in Ukraine – including sexual violence — is building.

These alleged crimes are most likely to be heard in the International Criminal Court, set up in 2002 to try the world's worst war criminals.

"Individual cases of war crimes are very unlikely to be prosecuted by the ICC or any international tribunal," Meger says. "Usually, these tribunals go after the ‘big fish’ and seek to establish a pattern of command responsibility for the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide."

While individual cases of rape - like the soldier to abused Olha - areunlikely to make it to the ICC, sexual violence that could be classified a crime against humanity or genocide could get a hearing there.

In readiness, the ICC has opened a formal inquiry and sent it's largest-ever team to Ukraine, describing the country as a "crime scene". The UK announced in April it would send a team to Ukraine to contribute toinvestigations, with a special emphasis on allegations of rape as war crimes. The inquiry has the support of the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

However it's worth noting that the US, Russia and Ukraine are not members of the ICC. Ukraine has, however, given permission for the court to investigate war crimes on its territory.

Ensuring evidence is scrupulously collected and analysed, and negotiating the ICC's jurisdiction over war crimes committed on Ukrainian territory,means the process for stacking up a case will be slow.

And as they documentevidence,researchers and lawyers are not only searching for living victims. The dead can share their stories too.

Evidence remaining on bodies gathered from mass graves in Ukraine often display injuries suggesting some women were raped before being killed.

Rape in war is 'almost inevitable'

As Sara Meger watches the warunfold from Australia she is resigned but unsurprised byaccounts emerging from Ukraine’s conflict zone. Rape has always been a feature of war, she says.

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“When you have got full mobilisation of armies and invading men it’s almost inevitable that there will be sexual violence perpetrated against civilian women,” she says, noting men and boys have also reported being victims of sexual violence in war.

During World War II, Korean women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese and Stalin’s troops were accused of rape as they took Berlin. More recently, rape camps were a feature of war in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

The examples across time and geography are just too numerous to list here comprehensively. They include Rwanda, Myanmar, Colombia, Afghanistan, East Timor and involve allegations against US, British and Australian troops, too.

In Ukraine,stories of war crimes perpetrated by Ukrainian troops are also slowly coming to light.

Meger’s research a decade ago took the Democratic Republic of Congo as its case study, examining not just the assaults carried out during that war but how sexual violence became embedded in the political economy of the country. Women were encouraged to report rape as one of few avenues to access help and in turn armed groups noted its impact and were encouraged to use rape as a tactic to instil fear.

Why do soldiers rape?

Rape used to be viewed as an unavoidable by-product of military culture in which soldiers are socialised through notions of masculinity, virility and hyper-sexuality, Meger says. It’s still a valid analysis.

“You see it in military chants and cultural mores around the military and through this process men are socialised to believe their status is tied to the performance of masculinity, which is also sexualised,” she says

Within the military, elite troopsinvested with a sense of being above the law, are statistically most likely to perpetrate atrocities, Meger says: “We saw that with our own special forces in Afghanistan.”

When Russian soldiers burst in, Ohla was told to hand over her daughter and come upstairs. Her ordeal was just starting (4)

Research on sexual violence during conflict has found rape occurs in two broad contexts.

First is straightforward opportunism, in which sexual ownership of [most commonly] women becomes part of the so-called spoils of war. In the chaos of conflict, women were viewed as the property of invaders, and sexual violence takesplace in the moment, says Meger.

Rape carried out perhaps by a renegade soldieris probable in Ukraine, Meger believes.

“To rape the women of [your enemy] can beeffective in reinforcinga sort of cultural dominance,” Meger says. “I think that helps us understand why invading forces rape, not out of sexual desire, but a kind of anger or hatred element behind how they treat civilians.”

The second category is more complicated to prove. For sexual violence to be categorised as a crime against humanity or genocide, it must be shown to be strategic and a deliberate tool of military planning used to dehumanise and destroy culture and morale in the opponent.

Successfully arguing in the ICC, for example, that rape violates these laws of war, rests on proving sexual violence in Ukraine has been weaponised and linking it toa chain of Russian military command.

Known as "command responsibility", it must be proven that Russia's military command knew or had reasonable expectation to know how soldiers were acting on the ground and were in a position to prevent it.

If this can be shown theninternational law can build a case arguing Moscow, a specific commander, or even Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, should be heldaccountable for genocide, human rights abuses and war crimes.

Has sexual violence been weaponised?

The stories emerging from Ukraine create an overwhelming suspicion that Russia's military has weaponisedsexual violence.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been quoted as saying that“What we’ve seen in Bucha is not the random act of a rogue unit, this is a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities."

But most international leaders have stopped short ofoutright accusing Russia of using sexual violence as genocide or a crime against humanity, instead waiting for the evidence to be gathered.

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Meger agrees it is vital to see what has been corroborated to implicate Russian troops in a deliberate strategy of rape in Ukraine.

Just as Blinken highlighted the horrific battles around Bucha as a potential location for these crimes, Meger notes the area around Mariupol,where there have been heavy Russian troop losses and intense battles, as a possible location to find evidence for rape as a weapon of war.

“We often see sexual violence used against civilians almost like retribution,” she says. “Trying to undermine the morale of the national armed forces.”

A poor track record for prosecuting rape

Having law onside is crucial, yetfew attempts to prosecute sexual violence in conflict zones have been successful.

The legal frameworkgoverning these crimescan be complex. Prior to 2002 individual tribunals were set up to conduct trials following wars in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Cambodia, for example.These hadsome success in prosecuting sexual violence.

In Rwanda 12 people were prosecuted for rape,and 30 Serbian militaryinYugoslavia. But the relatively small number of convictions, in the face of many, many thousands of reported victims of sexual violence, underscores the difficulty of achieving legal redress.

But in July 2002 this tribunal system was replaced with the International Criminal Court, established to investigate and try genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and thecrime of aggression.

Yet over the 20 years of its existence the ICC has achieved only one successful prosecution includingrape: Congolese military leader Bosco Ntaganda was convicted in 2019 and sentenced to 30 years prison for atrocities including murder, rape and the conscription of child soldiers.

The ICC's landmark 2016 conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, forwar crimes and crimes against humanityincluding rape committed when he was a militia leader during the Second Congo War in 2002-2003, was sensationally overturnedtwo years later.

It is against this background that Meger urges caution when linking evidence of horrific acts of rape and sexual violence in Ukraine with the legal label ofgenocide or crimes against humanity.

While Meger’s caution may feel counter to the over-riding narrative of support for Ukraine, her insistence on more evidence pre-empts the very high burden of proof that would be required if these cases were to reach the ICC where demonstrating command responsibility would be key.

“It is really unpopular to say in this particular political climate, but [the Ukrainian government] is likely to be aware of how emotive [accusing Russia of weaponising rape] might be,” she says. “Not that I want to suggest that they aren't true. I just want to see more corroboration.”

When Russian soldiers burst in, Ohla was told to hand over her daughter and come upstairs. Her ordeal was just starting (5)

Unsettlingly, Meger also argues that focusing on sexual violence can even increase the likelihood it will occur.

Invading forces are empowered to use war rapes as a military strategy because of the notoriety it brings, and how the fear it generates can be leveraged forpower and control.

“What would I find convincing?” she asks of the situation in Ukraine. “If enough witnesses come forward with the same claims and if this is corroborated by an international fact-finding team. It’s about the credibility of the source.”

Australian women were once arrested for protesting war rape

Nadia Murad, a high-profile victim of sexual assault during the war in Iraq, has offered her expertise to researchers gatheringevidence in Ukraine.

In 2014 Murad was kidnapped by members of Islamic State. She was held for three months – raped, beaten and burned with cigarettes – before escaping when a door was left unlocked.

Nobel Peace Prize

Since then Murad has campaigned for the end of sexual violence as a weapon of war and was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.

Part of Murad’s human rights work has been to develop guidelines for collecting evidence of sex crimes in war that reduce the risk of further traumatising survivors.

“World leaders need to understand that whether it’s in Yemen or Ukraine or any other place, violence against women will occur and we should make sure that we have that in mind when planning to deal with these conflicts,” Murad said in an interview with Angelina Jolie.

Yet such high profile support for women victims of war rape was not always guaranteed.

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In the early 1980s a group of Australian women who tried to raise the problem of sexual violence during war were arrested in Sydney.

At the Anzac Day parade in1983 the Sydney Women Against Rape Collective hoped to join the march and bring attention to the numbers of women raped during conflict. Yet their application to march was rejected by police and the RSL. They marched anyway, walking silently through the city, dressed in black, before the official Anzac march began.

“We sang the Judy Small song ‘It’s not only men in uniform who pay the price of war’,” Meredith Burgmann – a former NSW Labor politician who marched with the group – wrote of the experience: “Most of us were very nervous about what we were about to do.”

The group was met by police officers and paddy wagons. They stopped marching and sat in the middle of the street. “We reminded each other to stay silent and be non-violent,” she wrote.

Their campaign is now commemorated at the Australian War Museum in Canberra, but on that day, 161 members of the group were arrested and accused of disrupting the event.

A parallel disaster is unfolding

Yet the suffering of women and children in war can sometimes feel endless.

As investigations into sexual violence in Ukraine take shape, a second tragedy isunfolding as women and children tryito escape the conflict.

Evidence is growing that vulnerable women, often travelling alone, traumatised and caring for equally traumatised children, are being targeted by sex traffickers as they cross the borders and flee Ukraine.

When Russian soldiers burst in, Ohla was told to hand over her daughter and come upstairs. Her ordeal was just starting (6)

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has warnedrefugees risk being exploited.

Charli Carpenter, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Amhersttold Boston radio station WBURthat the risks facing Ukrainian womenas they flee the war zone is heightened because men under 60 are required to stay and fight.

"If men, fathers in particular, are held back from travelling with their families, it puts women and children who are fleeing a war more greatly at risk of other forms of sexual violence and exploitation," she says. "A lot of wartime sexual violence or conflict related sexual violence happens through trafficking networks, or other sorts of situations that women find themselves in as they are fleeing a war zone."

Xanthe Mallett, a criminologist from the University of Newcastle who specialises in sex abuse and trafficking, agrees that the profile of Ukrainian women as they flee places them at high risk.

“This was just waiting to happen,” she says, pointing out many women will be in survival mode, willing to do almost anything to keep their children safe.

As they cross a border, disorientated, tired, some will be approached by strangers offering help.

“They'll offer them food, they'll probably offer them some warm clothing,” she says, noting some trafficking groups are making contact with Ukrainian refugees on social media before they reach the border, often using another woman as the link to lower suspicion. With no other support and in desperate circumstancesit can be very easy to take a leap of faith.

“Nobody knows where they are or where they are going. These things, as they are crossing borders, mean we’ve got every factor that makes them vulnerable coming together,” Mallett says.

Mallett says evidence already suggests Ukrainian children are being picked up by European sex-trafficking rings and women are being forced into prostitution.

“These organised crime groups have extensive networks throughout Europe and they are attracting and selling people into sex-trafficking rings and also moving arms and drugs," Mallett believes. “It’s all just part of the dark economy and the arrival of these women and children from Ukraine will be viewed as a new product to sell for financial return.”

For Ukraininan women and their children fleeing the conflict, the choices ahead of them are stark: leave Ukraine to escape fighting also requires facing the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

Mallett believes there is little choice. “If you are a woman in some parts of Ukraine now you have literally nothing except the clothes on your back,” she says. “What else are you going to do?”.

Posted, updated


What would happen if Russia and the US went to war? ›

Nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would kill more than 5 billion people – just from starvation, study finds. The toll of nuclear war would be instantly catastrophic for those who are within the immediate path of the weapons. But a new study shows just how deadly the scope of such a war would be.

What is happening to Ukrainian prisoners of war? ›

Russian forces have detained Ukrainian prisoners of war in horrible conditions, subjecting them to beatings and denying them food to the point where many became severely undernourished, a senior Ukrainian government official said on Thursday.

Are there Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine? ›

Ukrainian forces retake 6,000sq km of their homeland - and thousands of Russian prisoners of war, reports claim. As blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags fluttered over newly liberated towns, it is claimed Ukraine has taken so many Russians captive, the country is running out of space to accommodate them.

How much of Ukraine does Russia control? ›

Despite Ukraine's recent success, Russia controls about 116,000 square kilometers of what is internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, annexed in 2014. All that land is roughly the size of Bulgaria or the state of Pennsylvania.

Would humans survive a nuclear war? ›

Nuclear weapons are deadly, and after an impact on a major city tens to hundreds of thousands would likely die. But the worst destruction, where the chances of survival are least likely, is confined to a "severe damage zone," Buddemeier said.

Would the UK survive a nuclear war? ›

If it came down to a nuclear war between Russia and the United States, Britain would be caught in the crossfire. As would most of the global population. According to a new study, more than five billion people would die through famine in the aftermath of a nuclear conflict.

Does Ukraine have forced enlistment? ›

Ukraine has long had conscription, and young men are required to do military service unless they fall into an exempt category, like being enrolled in a university, having a disability or having at least three children.

How many POWS does Ukraine have? ›

The United States State Department suspects between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, have been detained and transferred to Russia, often to isolated regions.

What would happen to prisoners in nuclear war? ›

What would happen to prisoners in a nuclear war? The same as in every war. They'd be rounded up and released at the end of the conflict. At least this would be the official policy.

What did Russia do with German prisoners? ›

Approximately three million German prisoners of war were captured by the Soviet Union during World War II, most of them during the great advances of the Red Army in the last year of the war. The POWs were employed as forced labor in the Soviet wartime economy and post-war reconstruction.

How is Ukraine treating POWs? ›

The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine says prisoners of war held in detention by the Russian Federation's armed forces or by affiliated armed groups have been subject to torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment.

Where do prisoners go in Russia? ›

The vast majority of Russia's prisons are in fact penal colonies, where inmates are housed in barracks instead of cells and are often put to work, according to a report by Poland-based think tank the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW). More than 800 such facilities existed across Russia as of 2019, the organization said.

How many troops has Russia lost in the Ukraine war? ›

Russia is seeking to increase the size of its military by 137,000 to 1.15 million. U.S. officials have said that Russia has lost between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in its misguided war on Ukraine.

What percentage of Ukraine is Russian? ›

However, while they are Russian speakers, most identify themselves as Ukrainian. Indeed, in Donetsk ethnic Ukrainians make up 56.9 %, and ethnic Russians 38.2 % of the population.

Why is Ukraine not in NATO? ›

Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President.

Where is the safest place to live if there is a nuclear war? ›

1- Iceland

Due to its remoteness, lack of military, and geothermal energy, Iceland is one of the safest nuclear war zones. Nuclear missiles cannot reach Iceland without being noticed due to the North Atlantic Ocean's isolation. Iceland's limited population and size would limit damage from a nuclear missile.

How long would it take for radiation to clear after a nuclear war? ›

For the survivors of a nuclear war, this lingering radiation hazard could represent a grave threat for as long as 1 to 5 years after the attack. Predictions of the amount and levels of the radioactive fallout are difficult because of several factors.

How many miles away would you need to be to survive a nuclear bomb? ›

At a distance of 40-45 miles, a person would have at most 3 hours after the fallout began to find shelter. Considerably smaller radiation doses will make people seriously ill. Thus, the survival prospects of persons immediately downwind of the burst point would be slim unless they could be sheltered or evacuated.

Can England stop a nuclear bomb? ›

There is no real credible capability to shoot down an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile. No nation really has a credible capability in this respect. Whilst anti-ballistic missile technology exists, current technological advances do not stretch to a capable system to protect against even a limited ICBM attack.

How do I prepare my house for nuclear fallout? ›

Nuclear Preparations – What you will need
  1. Pack Your Supplies. via Survival Mastery. ...
  2. Think of Your Family. Next, you are going to want to think of your family. ...
  3. Know Where to Go. ...
  4. Create a Safe Space. ...
  5. Have a Plan for an Inner Refuge. ...
  6. Prep Your Home. ...
  7. Paint Your Windows. ...
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Can the UK deflect a nuclear bomb? ›

Professor Futter said: "We don't have the ability to intercept and destroy incoming Russian ballistic missiles. “Since the early Cold War, the UK has effectively relied on deterrence because defence (either active missile defences or passive civil defence) are hugely expensive and in some cases unworkable.

How many tanks has Russia lost Ukraine? ›

The estimated total Russian loss of 1,300 machines in Ukraine roughly corresponds to 14 full-fledged armored brigades or 42 battalion tactical groups (BTGs). This amounts to more tank fleets than the U.K., France, Germany, and Italy combined.

Does Ukraine have a mandatory draft? ›

The modern armed forces were formed in 1991 and consisted of three former Soviet Armed Forces military districts stationed in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Armed Forces
Commander-in-ChiefValerii Zaluzhnyi
Military age18
Conscription12–18 months (depending on branches)
25 more rows

Is Ukraine a drafting soldier? ›

Ukraine has always had military conscription. It's a legacy of the Soviet Union.

How many German POWs returned home from Russia? ›

Even then, a further 26,000 POWs and civilian internees classified as 'war criminals' were only released in two main waves; in 1953–54 and 1955–56 (p. 45). All in all, 2 million POWs returned from the Soviet Union.

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Where does Ukraine keep Russian POWs? ›

Russian prisoners of war are being held in a camp in western Ukraine, as well as in smaller centres in almost every region of Ukraine, in accordance with international law.

How would you survive a nuclear war? ›

People should ideally look for shelter in the opposite direction of fallen buildings. "You'd want to go in the direction away from the wind," Redlener said, adding: "Get as far away as you can in the next 10 to 15 minutes, and then immediately seek shelter before the radiation cloud descends."

What happens if a nuclear bomb goes off in the US? ›

Bright FLASH can cause temporary blindness for less than a minute. BLAST WAVE can cause death, injury, and damage to structures several miles out from the blast. RADIATION can damage cells of the body. FIRE AND HEAT can cause death, burn injuries, and damage to structures several miles out.

How can you protect yourself from a nuclear bomb? ›

immediately get inside the nearest building and move away from windows. This will help provide protection from the blast, heat, and radiation of the detonation. occurs take cover from the blast behind anything that might offer protection. Lie face down to protect exposed skin from the heat and flying debris.

How many prisoners are in Russia? ›

Russian Federation
Prison population total (including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners)468 237 at 1.5.2022 (national prison administration)
Foreign prisoners (percentage of prison population)6.2% (1.1.2019)
7 more rows

How many German POWs were executed? ›

In 1941 alone, two million of the 3.3 million German-held Soviet POWs—about 60%—died or were executed by the special SS "Action Groups" (Einsatzgruppen). By 1944, only 1.05 million of 5 million Soviet prisoners in German hands had survived. Of some 2–3 million German POWs in Russian hands, more than 1 million died.

How long did Russia hold German POWs? ›

The Soviet government kept roughly 1.5 million German POWs in forced-labor camps after the end of World War II through 1956.

Is killing POWs a war crime? ›

The Third Geneva Convention governs the treatment of prisoners of war, effective from the moment of capture. This includes obligations to treat them humanely at all times. It is a war crime to willfully kill, mistreat, or torture POWs, or to willfully cause great suffering, or serious injury to body or health.

How did Germans treat POWs? ›

Large numbers of the Russian prisoners ended up in special sections of German POW camps. Held by the Nazis to be racially and politically inferior, they were starved and brutalised. The appalling suffering of these POWs was witnessed by British and Commonwealth prisoners held in separate compounds.

Is Operation Blessing helping in Ukraine? ›

Operation Blessing offers aid to these refugees who are now strangers in a new land. In addition to providing critical supplies, friends like you are helping to support shelters that offer safe havens for refugee children. These are places families can play, relax and escape the bitter realities of their situation.

What was Griner doing in Russia? ›

Brittney Griner, a W.N.B.A. star and two-time Olympic gold medalist who has been detained in Russia since February, was found guilty in August of trying to smuggle illegal narcotics into Russia and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony. Her appeal of the case was denied Tuesday.

Does Russia still execute prisoners? ›

Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Russia, but is not used due to a moratorium and no death sentences or executions have occurred since 02/08/1996.

How do they execute prisoners in Russia? ›

So will the 630 inmates in similar circumstances across Russia and those being sentenced to death at the rate of one every few days. In each case, a single bullet will be fired into the back of the inmate's head. The body will be burned; the family will never see the ashes.

How many tanks has Ukraine lost in the war? ›

19 the Ukrainian army had lost just 320 tanks: 176 of them destroyed. The Ukrainians in the last six weeks have lost 71 tanks and captured 194.

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According to the Military Balance 2021, quoted in Kyiv Independent, Russia has over 10,000 battle tanks in storage, mainly T-72s and T-80s.

Do Ukraine have nuclear weapons? ›

Ukraine never had an independent nuclear weapons arsenal, or control over these weapons, but agreed to remove former Soviet weapons stationed on its territory. In 1992, Ukraine signed the Lisbon Protocol and it joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state in 1994.

What is the Ukraine rich in? ›

Ukraine has extremely rich and complementary mineral resources in high concentrations and close proximity to each other. The country has abundant reserves of coal, iron ore, natural gas, manganese, salt, oil, graphite, sulfur, kaolin, titanium, nickel, magnesium, timber, and mercury.

Does Ukraine speak Polish? ›

Significant numbers of people in the country speak Polish, Yiddish, Rusyn, Belarusian, Romanian or Moldovan, Bulgarian, Crimean Turkish, or Hungarian. Russian is the most important minority language.

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NATO's “open door policy” is based upon Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, which states that membership is open to any “European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area”.

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The country with the second largest number of military personnel was Turkey, with just around 447,000 personnel. NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world.

What are some countries not in NATO? ›

Which European nations are not in NATO?
  • Andorra.
  • Armenia.
  • Austria.
  • Azerbaijan.
  • Belarus.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Cyprus.
  • Finland.
29 Jun 2022

Who is stronger Russia or USA? ›

In short, Russia is ranked 2nd out of 140 in military strength while the US is ranked 1st. As per the army population, Russia has 142,320,790 soldiers while The US has 334,998,398 soldiers. The available manpower is 69,737,187 with Russia and 147,399,295 with the United States.

Has the U.S. ever fought Russia in a war? ›

The American Expeditionary Force, Siberia (AEF in Siberia) was a formation of the United States Army involved in the Russian Civil War in Vladivostok, Russia, after the October Revolution, from 1918 to 1920. The force was part of the larger Allied North Russia intervention.

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During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union fought together as allies against the Axis powers. However, the relationship between the two nations was a tense one.

How many nukes does Russia have? ›

Russia possesses a total of 5,977 nuclear warheads as of 2022, the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world; the second-largest stockpile is the United States' 5,428 warheads. Russia's deployed missiles (those actually ready to be launched) number about 1,588, second to the United States' 1,644.

Who has better weapons US or Russia? ›

Statista puts Russia's arsenal at 5,997 nuclear warheads as of January 2022 and the U.S. with 5,428 nuclear warheads. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Russia has a stockpile of around 4,477 weapons in its nuclear arsenal. In comparison, the U.S. has around 3,708 warheads.

Who has better weapons US or China? ›

The number of Chinese warheads is roughly 200 and is expected to double over the next decade. By comparison, the United States has close to 4,000 superior nuclear warheads with 1,600 strategic weapons.

Who is the No 1 Army in World? ›

The United States has the most powerful military force in the world, according to a rating of the world's greatest militaries. This post will give you a full list of the world's top ten armies as of 2022.

Has America lost a war? ›

However, the US was unable to get any significant victory in its wars abroad. America fought five major wars after 1945 including Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan in addition to some minor wars in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. Except for the Gulf War in 1991, America lost all other wars.

Would the Allies have won WW2 without America? ›

Would the Allies have still won WWII if the United States had not joined the War? Absolutely not. Without the USA at war Germany would've conquered Europe from France to the Urals and Japan would've built its co-prosperity sphere without much trouble.

Has the US ever been invaded? ›

The country has been physically invaded on several occasions—once during the War of 1812, once during the Mexican–American War, several times during the Mexican Border War, and three times during World War II, two of which were air attacks on American soil.

Did the US help Russia in WW2? ›

Totaling $11.3 billion, or $180 billion in today's currency, the Lend-Lease Act of the United States supplied needed goods to the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1945 in support of what Stalin described to Roosevelt as the “enormous and difficult fight against the common enemy — bloodthirsty Hitlerism.”

Which country played the biggest role in WW2? ›

Although the United States played the dominant role, all three major Allied countries were necessary to victory in Europe. The most important contribution made by Britain was to survive Hitler's onslaught in 1940. Had the British failed to hold off the Nazis, the Second World War would have taken a far different turn.

Who won WW2 USA or Russia? ›

The Allied Powers won the war. The USA was one of the Allied Powers, and Russia was part of the Soviet Union, which also fought with the Allied Powers. So, you could say that both the USA and Russia won World War 2.

Can a nuclear bomb destroy a whole country? ›

Depending on its impact radius, even a Tsar bomb cannot destroy a whole country. Only a small country such as Vatican City or Monaco with land areas of 44 ha and 202 ha respectively can be completely destroyed using a nuclear weapon.

What is the most powerful nuclear weapon in the world today? ›

The Tsar Bomba (Russian: Царь-бо́мба) (code name: Ivan or Vanya), also known by the alphanumerical designation "AN602", was a thermonuclear aerial bomb, and the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created and tested.
Tsar Bomba
Place of originSoviet Union
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