President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Monday for an international tribunal to investigate and punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine, which he described as war crimes.
“Today, Russian troops shelled Kharkiv using rocket artillery,” Mr. Zelensky said in a video posted on his Facebook page. “This is, without any doubt, a military crime. A peaceful city. Peaceful residential neighborhoods. Not a single military object in sight.”
He continued: “For such a crime, there needs to be a tribunal. An international one. This is a violation of all conventions. No one in the world will forgive you for the murder of peaceful Ukrainian people. This is Ukraine. This is Europe. This is the year 2022. Evil, armed with rockets, bombs and artillery, must be stopped immediately.”
Mr. Zelensky proposed an array of penalties, including closing airspace, ports and canals to Russian planes and ships. He also suggested that Russia ought to be removed from its permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council, though the U.N. Charter contains no mechanism to do that.
But another international body signaled action. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said earlier Monday that he would pursue an investigation into the war in Ukraine, citing a “reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed.”
Speaking at the end of the first day of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, Mr. Zelensky said the talks would continue though Russia kept attacking throughout them.
“These negotiations took place against the backdrop of the bombing and shooting of our territory, our cities,” he said. “Clearly, there was a coordination of attacks with the negotiating process. I would contend that in such a not-so-sly way, Russia is attempting to steamroll us.
“Do not waste time. We will not allow such a tactic. Real negotiations can only take place when one side is not attacking the other with rocket artillery in the very moment of negotiations.”
David Kurkovskiy contributed translation.