Putin is either directly behind these alleged war crimes, in which case he is a war criminal or he has lost control of his troops, says Patrick Christys

I have a sinking feeling that this is going to get worse before it gets better

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Civilians shot in the back as they fled, women repeatedly raped, children mutilated, hundreds of bodies dumped in mass graves…these are just some of the allegations levelled against Putin’s troops as they, and he, stand accused of war crimes.

Human Rights Watch appears convinced that Russian troops are breaking the laws of war.

They claim a woman told them that a Russian soldier had repeatedly raped her in a school in the Kharkiv region where she and her family had been sheltering on March 13.

She said that he beat her and cut her face, neck, and hair with a knife. The next day the woman fled to Kharkiv, where she was able to get medical treatment and other services.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
A local resident walks near an apartment building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 3, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
A local resident walks near an apartment building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 3, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Other allegations include Russian soldiers in the village of Vorzel, about 50 kilometers northwest of Kyiv, threw a smoke grenade into a basement, then shot a woman and a 14-year-old child as they emerged from the basement, where they had been sheltering.

Apparently there have been numerous reports of civilians being made to kneel down and then being shot in the back of the head.

Although videos are extremely hard to verify and one must always be careful to avoid falling into the trap of propaganda during times of war, there is some compelling footage from towns around Kyiv.

It shows bodies lying in the street as though people were gunned down as they went about their daily business.

Alexi Gorcharenko, a Ukrainian MP who will be joining us shortly on the show, took a video yesterday showing the aftermath of a Russian attack on a civilian car.

A little girl was badly wounded, a lady, believed to be her grandmother, was slumped in the front seat…her head had been blown off.

We clearly have to ensure that the evidence is entirely there before we start lobbing war crime accusations around but…it is starting to look pretty overwhelming.

One of two things has happened, and they’re both very bad.

Either Putin is directly behind these alleged war crimes, in which case he is a war criminal, a butcher, a mad man, a psychopath and someone who should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Or Putin has lost control of his troops and they are simply acting of their own accord, committing war crimes as they retreat, potentially in revenge for the heavy losses they’ve suffered at the hands of the brave Ukrainian troops and civilians.

No matter which one of those situations has happened, there is one common denominator – the slaughter and rape of innocent civilians.

I have a sinking feeling that this is going to get worse before it gets better.