Russia Uses Rape as ‘Military Strategy’ in Ukraine: UN Envoys


Russia is using rape and sexual violence in Ukraine as part of its “military strategy”, a UN representative said this week.

The claim comes after a group of UN experts recently verified “more than a hundred cases” of rape or sexual assault reported in Ukraine since February.

“When you hear women testifying about Russian soldiers being supplied with Viagra, it’s clear that this is a military strategy,” Pramila Patten, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said in an interview with AFP on Thursday.

He added that many of the cases involved children and said the true number of victims was likely to be much higher than official figures suggested because sex crimes were often “under-reported”.

“There are many cases of sexual violence against children who are raped, tortured and kidnapped,” said Patten.

“Since February I have not stopped to emphasize the importance of credible investigations into these cases of violence.”

Since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly accused Moscow’s forces of sexually abusing women and children, saying they are using rape and other sexual acts as weapons of war.

Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Kateryna Pavlichenko said in June that the police had received 50 complaints about sexual crimes committed by Russian soldiers.

Prosecutors are also investigating allegations of rape in the Kharkiv region after Ukrainian forces retook territory there.

CNN spoke with Ukrainian women, one of whom is a pregnant 16-year-old, who shared harrowing accounts detailing sexual assault.

CNN could not independently verify the latest UN claims.

Russian authorities have denied allegations of war crimes in Ukraine.