Ukrainian Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova states that she considers the crimes taking place in Mariupol in terms of a possible qualification of "genocide".
"What is happening today in Mariupol is no longer a war crime. War has rules, war crimes concern these rules. And here it is already beyond any rules," Venediktova said on Monday at a briefing in Kyiv.
She stressed: "I look at it from the point of view of the possibility of qualifying as 'genocide': a whole city is held hostage, people are without water, without food, without heat. It is impossible to leave, convoys that try to leave are shot... This is a city from which adults and children were deported.
According to the Prosecutor General, more than 2 thousand children were deported from Mariupol alone.
"What is this all about? Is this just a war crime? This is much more than a war crime. So as a prosecutor I am very cautious about the possibility of qualifying as genocide, but as a thinking citizen I understand very well what is happening to our people," stressed Venediktova.
The Prosecutor General concluded: "This is not about Donbass and Crimea. Putin wants to destroy Ukraine as a state. It's about the destruction of the Ukrainian people as a nation. This is what deportation is about... We have this experience from the last century."
In response to a question about whether we can talk about "ethnic cleansing" on the example of Mariupol, the prosecutor general said: "In order to talk about a specific qualification, we have to go to that qualification..... I am looking at the possibility of qualification as genocide. And what will be included in the understanding of genocide, I will tell you right away, when there are grounds.