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The Guardian view on Putin’s siege tactics in Ukraine: a war crime by another name | Editorial

Russian soldiers are threatening to destroy Ukrainian cities unless they surrender. Humanitarian corridors are needed to get innocents out

The fall of the first Ukrainian city to the Russian army bodes ill for the rest of the country. Russian forces, reports suggest, surrounded and starved the southern Dnieper River port of Kherson into submission. Kherson’s mayor told reporters that many citizens had been left dead and unrecognisable by high-calibre weapons used by the Russians to bombard his city. Vladimir Putin’s siege tactics, familiar to anyone who remembers Russia’s role in the 2017 battle for Aleppo in Syria, today amount to war crimes.

Russian soldiers are threatening to destroy Ukrainian cities unless they surrender. The mayor of Mariupol, on the Black Sea, said that Mr Putin’s army was attacking rail lines and road bridges, as well as cutting off water and electricity, to prevent civilians from escaping the shelling. In 2014, Mr Putin described Kyiv as “the mother of Russian cities”. That his military is preparing to encircle the Ukrainian capital with enough firepower to leave it a charred ruin shows his potential descent into criminal folly. One can only hope that one day the Russian president will be sitting in a dock at The Hague where his ramblings can be exposed for what they are: no defence for the senseless killing of innocents.

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