Civil Network OPORA jointly with International Center for Ukrainian Victory and mobile operator “Vodafone Ukraine” conducted a research study on “How the migration of Ukraine’s population was affected by Russian shelling attacks in October 2022 – January 2023”, the results of which were submitted to the International Criminal Court via the Prosecutor General’s office of Ukraine. The research findings offer illuminating insights into the scope and impact of Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine.

According to OPORA, Russian missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which were carried out during the period from October 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023, led to mass-scale and oftentimes irreversible emigration of Ukrainians as well as significant internal displacement of  population within the country. For example, the number of Ukrainians leaving abroad after the massive attacks on November 15 and November 23 increased by more than 60% compared to the previous days. In particular, the number of people leaving Ukraine on November 16 and 17 was 2.7 times the number of those leaving abroad on November 14, and the number of people leaving Ukraine on November 24 was 3.5 times the number of those leaving abroad on November 22.

According to Iryna Didenko, who is the Deputy Head of Department for International Legal Cooperation and the Head of Department for Legal Assistance, Extradition and International Cooperation within the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, the Office is the central body for cooperation with the International Criminal Court. In particular, the Office considers and satisfies the requests from the ICC, sends evidence to designated recipients, ensures proper storage and protection of evidence and information.

 “Ukraine is facing enormous challenges, not least because of the huge number of war crimes committed by military and political leadership of the Russian Federation. It is important that the criminal justice bodies and civil society actors pool their efforts to record all crimes and collect evidence in a timely manner. It would be hard to overestimate the importance of evidential materials collected by non-governmental organizations, including OPORA. We attach collected materials to criminal case files and analyze them. These materials form the basis of national prosecutions, and they are also submitted to the ICC in accordance with established procedures”, said Iryna Didenko.

OPORA’s analyst and co-author of research study Andriy Savchuk noted the following: 

“The results of our research work go to prove that the strategic goal of Russian missile and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure, including energy infrastructure, is to force Ukraine’s leadership into peace talks and depopulate Ukraine in order to weaken its resistance to the Kremlin’s aggression. Furthermore, the fact that millions of internally displaced persons are leaving abroad demonstrates the insufficiency of Ukraine’s arsenal of air defense systems. The value of our calculation data resides in the fact that they give direct evidence of systematic nature of Russia’s actions aimed at destroying Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, which meets the criteria of the crime of genocide. I hope that the results of our analysis will bring Russian officials and generals one step closer to a deserved punishment!”

Indeed, on March 5, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants against Russian officers Sergei Kobylash and Viktor Sokolov who allegedly bear responsibility for missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure carried out in the October 2022 – January 2023 timeframe.

Previously, OPORA conducted a study on how migration of Ukraine’s population was affected by Russia’s targeted missile attack on Kyiv in May 2023.