Rescuers and servicemen work at a school building damaged by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine, in Kramatorsk, in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 21, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

International experts have documented serious and widespread violations of international humanitarian law by Russian troops since the beginning of the war against Ukraine. The Warsaw-based electoral and human rights office ODIHR of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) presented a report supporting the allegations.

Particularly serious cases are the shelling of the theater full of refugees in Mariupol in mid-March and the busy Kramatorsk train station in early April.

The ODIHR also expressed dismay at the sieges of cities. Civilians were not given the opportunity to evacuate. The actions of the Russian troops violated every principle of proportionality and consideration. Witnesses reported many cases of illegal executions, detentions, torture, sexual violence and kidnappings.

The Ukrainian army also violated international humanitarian law, albeit to a lesser extent, the report said. Violence against suspected looters was criticized. Both sides would also violate applicable international law when dealing with prisoners of war.