In his address before the "special military operation" in Ukraine began, Vladimir Putin stated that

In this context, in accordance with Article 51 (Chapter VII) of the UN Charter, with permission of Russia’s Federation Council, and in execution of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, ratified by the Federal Assembly on February 22, I made a decision to carry out a special military operation.

The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.

With regard to the point about genocide, and Russia's claims at the UNSC of genocide have there been any documented reports of Ukraine being the aggressor in the conflict in the Donbas region or committing a genocide?

Moreover, according to a Russian news agency report, Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed DPR republic stated

"On the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic alone, more than 130 mass graves of the victims of the Ukrainian aggression were found and opened," he said. "They are mass graves of civilians that were killed during operations by Ukraine’s armed forces in the DPR in Snezhnoye, Debaltsevo, Khartsyzsk and Ilovaisk."

Have these reports of mass graves been independently verified? I see that Russia did say that they would hand over evidence here (but is again a Russian news agency), but can't see any reports of evidence being transferred.

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    For what's worth it, the claim of simultaneous discovery of that many mass graves, apparently all of a sudden (and like a month before the invasion) was ridiculed in the Western press, but I don't know if that's exactly what Russia claim. Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 15:36
  • FWTW, late last summer Russia decided to defend their point in the ICJ trial on this matter (initiated by Ukraine). But I've not heard much of that since then. OTOH the Russian defense seems to be just that the ICJ has no jurisdiction mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1832628 Commented May 20, 2023 at 4:45

3 Answers 3


Russia have put together the only accusations about genocide I think there is, it includes pictures of mass graves etc. But they have not submitted it to neither the International Court of Justice, ICJ or International Criminal Court, ICC.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have not found evidence for genocide. Genocide have some more specific requirements than there are civilian casualties in a war-zone. In the region there has obviously been plenty of violations of human rights etc.

Human Rights Watch (I.e. the UN) say mass graves were made in 2014 and 2015 for civillan casualties. (They have not specified the aggressor)

  • Mass graves are likely indication of war crimes, although not necessarily a genocide. Otherwise this summarizes the situation pretty well. +1
    – Morisco
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 14:14
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    @RogerVadim, mass graves are indications of mass casualty events which overwhelmed the normal means of burial. War crimes are just one of many possible reasons.
    – o.m.
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 15:02
  • Here is a link to the environment the mass graves appeared in. hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/ukraine headline: Abuses in Eastern Ukraine. I would say The chance of people dying because of warcrimes were very big. But HRMMU just never got a chance to investigate the graves. Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 16:12
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    "they have not specified the agressor": they do note that both sides were responsible for the indiscriminate use of certain weapons in civilian areas, but that is not linked to any mass burials (nor even to any casualty figures).
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 17:11
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    @phoog, I wanted to make the point that some people interpret any civilian deaths as war crimes. That's not the case.
    – o.m.
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 18:02

No credible reports. Just implausible allegiations.

Russia claims that there is a genocide, which might be considered "reports." However, there are also reports describing that the Earth is flat, so the standard you ask for is a very low one. There is widespread international consensus that Russian claims/reports are false and that no such genocide exists.

A widespread consensus is not evidence that the consensus is right, but the current Russian government has shown time and again that they lie. Remember the little green men, which were denied to exist?

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    That doesn't really answer the question very well... Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 13:43
  • The point you make in your last paragraph regarding the Russian govt lying is a non-argument because it is not related to the matter at hand and lying constantly is not exclusive to the Russian government. Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 14:03
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    @SchwarzKugelblitz, I find the Russian government about as credible in this regard as I find the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse. Which means that I don't consider their reports to be "evidence."
    – o.m.
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 15:07
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    @SchwarzKugelblitz while evidence of other lies is not direct evidence that this is a lie, it does indeed speak to the credibility of the information source, and Russia does indeed have very little of that, if any. (On top of that, if the supposed genocide were really happening, Russia would have some evidence of it to present to the world, which would tend to compensate for Russia's lack of credibility. Furthermore, some of that evidence would also have been brought to light by the press, by witnesses, by relatives of victims, and so on.)
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 17:17
  • USA have lied about Iraq and there some more examples, so using your logic can we say that USA is always liing?
    – convert
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 21:57

With regard to the point about genocide, and Russia's claims at the UNSC of genocide have there been any documented reports of Ukraine being the aggressor in the conflict in the Donbas region or committing a genocide?

Whether or not here's a genocide is on the full spectrum from "true" to "false", depending on your definition of 'genocide'. See my answer to another question.

Mass graves, on the other hand, definitely exist. That's because the Donbas was a warzone. Ukraine did make attempts to retake the zone, which obviously leads to deaths on both sides, which leads to mass graves. For several years afterwards both sides were also shelling each other even without large-scale fighting, which again leads to deaths.

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    War deaths do not necessarily lead to mass graves. I believe Geneva conventions etc. contain provisions for evacuating wounded and the bodies. Mass graves likely indicate war crimes, though not necessarily a genocide, and not necessarily who committed it.
    – Morisco
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 14:08
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    Only in extremely dire circumstance mass graves are used. E.g. when there's a siege and service break down etc. news.sky.com/video/… I'm not sure what the fighting even in 2014 rose to that level, but the Ukrainians did flee some of their positions after being surrounded so it's possible that in those circumstances they left their dead behind etc. Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 15:15
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    Apparently there were some in 2014 too hrw.org/news/2014/07/24/… Ukrainians also did this kind of mass grave investigations in the areas they recaptured (per that link), so that in itself isn't conclusive. Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 15:21

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