Ministry of Defence in grim warning Russians ignoring human rights in Ukraine

The Ministry of Defence has shared a statement claiming that Russian officials are breaching Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention on Human Rights by forcing Ukrainians to fight against their own army.

Officials say that the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate and General Staff have accused Russia of planning to enlist Ukrainian nationals in Russian occupied areas, including Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

They state that this would follow in a similar practice of compulsory assistance in the Russian-occupied areas of Donbas and Crimea.

In a statement shared on Twitter, the government body said: "Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states 'the Occupying Power may not compel protected persons to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces', and 'no pressure or propaganda which aims at securing voluntary enlistment is permitted'.

"'Protected persons' in this context includes civilians within occupied territories, any enlistment of Ukrainian civilians into the Russian armed forces, even if presented by Russia as being voluntary or military service in accordance with Russian law, would constitute a violation of Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

The official guidelines set out in the Geneva Convention state: "Protected persons may not be compelled to undertake any work which would involve them in the obligation of taking part in military operations.

"The Occupying Power may not compel protected persons to employ forcible means to ensure the security of the installations where they are performing compulsory labour."

It comes as the ongoing Russian and Ukraine war approaches its third month after Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to storm the country on February 24.

Several days ago, Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov issued a chilling warning to the world, claiming that Russia's war is entering a "new stage" and "Ukrainians no longer enough," in a warning to Europe and NATO.

The Russian state TV presenter who has been dubbed "Putin's voice" claimed there would be "no mercy" for European and NATO countries before questioning whether they will have enough weapons to defend themselves.

Speaking on Russia 1, he said: "I believe the special military operation is entering a new stage, Ukrainians alone are no longer enough.

"Now they're talking about NATO countries supplying de-facto their own weapons. We'll see not only NATO's weapons being drawn into this but also their operators.

"De-facto, we're starting to wage war against NATO countries. We'll be grinding up NATO's war machine as well as citizens of NATO countries."

He added: "When this operation concludes, NATO will have to ask itself: Do we have what we need to defend ourselves? Do we have the people to defend ourselves? And there will be no mercy. There will be no mercy.

"Not only Ukraine will have to be de-nazified, but the war against Europe and the world is also developing a more specific outline which means we'll have to act differently and to act much more harshly."

Russia 1's Olga Skabeyeva previously said that NATO peacekeepers landing in Ukraine could cause a "direct clash between the armed forces of Russia and NATO", suggesting it would be called "World War Three."

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