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Open Society Calls for Global Boycott of Russian Oil and Gas in Response to Increasing Reports of War Crimes

NEW YORK—Images from Bucha in the northwest of Kyiv and accompanying initial reports by monitoring organizations of slaughtered civilians, some executed in cold blood with their hands tied, others apparently raped, their bodies left on the street, have disgraced the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and demand the strongest response from the rest of the international community.

All parties to the armed conflict in Ukraine must abide by international humanitarian law; this includes the Geneva Conventions, the First Additional Protocol, and customary international law.

As a party to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol 1, Russia is required to investigate and prosecute those responsible for carrying out and for ordering these evident atrocities in Bucha. Other states should also provide additional technical and financial support to the International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation and should themselves investigate alleged crimes of international concern in Ukraine as appropriate within their respective jurisdictions.

The evident inhumanity and cruelty in Bucha and other towns and villages near Kyiv recalls the horrors perpetrated against civilians by Nazi and Soviet forces during World War II.  

Taken with other clear cases of apparently indiscriminate attacks on residential neighborhoods and hospitals, as well as the initial crime of aggression against a neighboring state, a failure to investigate and act against perpetrators will regrettably place the Russian Federation further outside the structures of international law established in the aftermath of World War II.

The rest of the international community should now make a concerted and unified response to ensure that severe financial costs are imposed on the Russian government as a critical tool to address its ongoing atrocities and aggression.

Open Society joins our voice to the calls for governments around the world to impose urgent and complete boycotts of Russian oil and gas, as well as full sanctions on energy exports. All nations should reduce their dependency on Russian oil and gas as a matter of urgency and stop indirectly financing Putin’s brutal war against the Ukrainian people.

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