Met police war crimes unit receives evidence of 50 atrocities by Russian troops in Ukraine

22 April 2022, 09:01

Police say they have received evidence of around 50 atrocities committed by Putin's forces
Police say they have received evidence of around 50 atrocities committed by Putin's forces. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

The Met police's war crimes unit has received around 50 referrals from Ukrainian refugees in Britain of atrocities carried out by Vladimir Putin’s troops, Scotland Yard said.

The Metropolitan Police's War Crimes Team, which is a unit within its counter-terrorism command (CTC), said it had already received around 50 referrals from people with a link to the UK, including those who have directly fled the conflict in the last two months since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Investigators want to hear from anyone who may themselves have "witnessed or been the victim of any war crimes" in Ukraine at any time from 21 November 2013 onwards.

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Evidence provided to and gathered by the Met’s War Crimes Team will be shared with the International Criminal Court to assist with their ongoing investigation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dominic Murphy, Head of Operations for the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Since the start of the recent military activity in February, our officers have been proactively engaging with Ukrainian communities in the UK.

"This is to make sure anyone here in the UK who has received direct evidence of potential war crimes knows that this can be reported to us, but also to make sure that anyone affected by these terrible events can also be given the support and help that they might need."

“We’ve had around 50 referrals into us and we expect that number to grow over the coming weeks as more and more people who fled from Ukraine arrive here in the UK.

"We want to make sure those people know we’re here and that we’re ready to receive any evidence of war crimes from them, as well as provide them with the support and help that they might need in relation to that.

“I’d also ask any households across the country who have volunteered to host Ukrainian people that should you come into contact with anyone who might have been witness to, or victim of possible war crimes, then you encourage them to contact us.

"Please let them know we are here and that we can help them.”

Officers based at ports and borders are also asking people arriving into the UK whether they may have any evidence for the ICC investigation.

This is particularly important as more Ukrainians are granted refugee status in the UK, police said.

Police said they wanted to gather as much first-hand evidence as possible.

This could be in the form of messages which Ukrainians have sent to relatives in the UK, and video footage filmed on camera phones by those in conflict zones.

It does not include anything sourced from social media or seen as part of news reports.

Mr Murphy said the force was "utterly committed" to not reducing the strength of national security and counterterrorism work while it was supporting the war crimes investigation.