The United Nations Human Rights Council voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to launch an inquiry into alleged serious violations committed by Russian troops in Ukraine, AFP reported.
Concerned by extrajudicial executions, civilian casualties, the use of torture and abuses against children, the council voted 33-2 to create an investigation into alleged violations, with a view to holding the perpetrators to account.
China and Eritrea voted against the resolution, while 12 countries including India, Pakistan and Cuba abstained. Russia branded the extraordinary meeting of the UN's top rights body a “politicized stunt” and refused to attend.
Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova spoke at the meeting and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces were inflicting "pure evil".
Russia was committing "the most gruesome human rights violations on the European continent in decades", she said, speaking from Kyiv.
"These have been 10 weeks of sheer horror to the people of my country. Torture and enforced disappearances, sexual and gender-based violence; the list of Russia's crimes is endless. Only the world standing strong in solidarity with the Ukrainian people can defeat this pure evil," said Dzhaparova.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, has been accused of committing war crimes.
The suburb of Bucha, north of Kyiv, became synonymous with those allegations after dozens of bodies in civilian clothing were found there in early April, some with their hands tied, after Moscow's troops pulled back.
In March, US President Joe Biden called Putin a "war criminal", in the harshest condemnation of Putin's actions from any US official since the war in Ukraine began.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken later said he agrees with Biden’s assessment and that he personally believes war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.
The Pentagon has announced that it will help to gather proof of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
Thursday’s resolution asks a commission of inquiry formed in March to brief the council about its progress at the September regular session, and to include the complete findings in its report to the March 2023 session.
The resolution also urges Moscow to give humanitarians unhindered access to people transferred to Russia or Russian-held territory -- and provide a comprehensive list of their names and whereabouts.
Russia was among the 47 Human Rights Council members until the UN General Assembly in New York voted on April 7 to suspend it from the body.
Russia then immediately withdrew from the council.