Russian soldiers are raping our women, Ukraine's foreign minister warns

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke of “numerous cases” of rapes in his country, (Getty)

Ukrainian women are being raped by Russian soldiers, it has been claimed.

Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, spoke of “numerous cases” of sexual violence in the week since Vladimir Putin launched an all-out assault.

Kuleba welcomed a call to create a special tribunal to punish Putin, but added it was “difficult” to talk about international law amid the country’s current suffering.

“When bombs fall on your cities, when soldiers rape women in the occupied cities – and we have numerous cases of, unfortunately, when Russian soldiers rape women in Ukrainian cities – it’s difficult of course to speak about the efficiency of the international law," Kuleba told an online event organised by the Chatham House think-tank.

“This is the only tool of civilisation that is available to us to make sure that, in the end, eventually, all those who made this war possible will be brought to justice and the Russian Federation, as a country that committed an act of aggression, will also be held accountable for its deeds.”

Kuleba's claims have not been independently verified.

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Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, pictured on 22 February, has warned Ukrainian women are being raped by Russian soldiers (Getty)

Putin's forces have made a limited progress in the eight days since they breached Ukrainian borders, and captured only one Ukrainian city – the southern Dnipro River port of Kherson.

Instead of a swift invasion, Putin is now personally responsible for over a million refugees who have fled Ukraine into their neighbouring European countries.

Those who have already left make up around 2% of the population.

The United Nations have estimated as many as four million people will eventually have to flee their homes.

Before launching his invasion, Putin claimed to be doing it to "denazify" Ukraine.

In the days since he has launched an all out assault on the Ukrainian people and their homes, bombing cities, hospitals and Holocaust memorials as he tries to beat them into submission.

Watch: Russia seizes Europe's largest nuclear power plant after attack on Ukraine

The Ukrainians have put up a fiercer fight than Putin anticipated, making his force's advances slower and losses heavier.

On Wednesday, Russia admitted for the first time admitted its soldiers had been killed, saying in a statement 498 of its troops had died. The UK has the death toll will be “considerably higher” than figures released by the Kremlin.

Ukraine claims over 9,000 Russian troops have died since the invasion began, although this figure is unverified.

In other developments:

  • Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has said Russia is using cluster bombs in Ukraine. "We have seen the use of cluster bombs and we have seen reports of use of other types of weapons which would be in violation of international law," he told reporters in Brussels. Stoltenberg further warned that "the worst is yet to come" in the conflict.

  • Ukraine's demands for a no-fly zone were once again rejected by Nato allies, citing fears the move could spiral into all-out war between Russia and the West. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that if allies wouldn't meet his request to protect his nation's air space, they should instead provide Kyiv with more war planes.

  • A huge fire was put out at a nuclear power plant in southeast Ukraine after it was seized by Russian forces. No damage was done to reactors at the Zaporozhzhia plant after a projectile hit a nearby building, UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi said. Boris Johnson accused Putin of “directly threatening the safety of all of Europe” after the attack on the plant.

  • Russia's parliament passed a low imposing jail sentences of up to 15 years for people who spread "fake information" about the country's armed forces. The laws give the Russian state enhanced powers to crack down on dissenters. Russia's communications watchdog also restricted access to several foreign news organisations' websites, including the BBC and Deutsche Welle.