A United Nations report found that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, but stopped short of classifying its actions as 'genocide'.
The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine to the Human Rights Council released its comprehensive report on Thursday, 16 March.
The report did cite incidents of murder, torture, and rape of civilians, but the authors said there was no direct proof these were motivated by genocidal intent it said the matter does warrant further investigation.
"We have not found that there has been a genocide within Ukraine," said the head of the UN investigation team," Erik Møse. "This said, we are, of course, following all kinds of evidence within this area, and we have noted that there are some aspects which may raise questions with respect to that crime (genocide). For instance, certain utterances in Russian media which are targeting groups."
The panel also said the illegal transfer of children from Ukraine by Russian authorities constituted "a war crime".
"The commission has investigated the situation of forced transfers and deportations of children within Ukraine and to the Russian Federation," explained Jasminka Džumhur, UN Ukraine Investigation Commissioner. "The figures provided by parties vary greatly. It identified several situations in which such transfers and deportations took place in incidents examined by the commission."
The commission also found that the waves of attacks on Ukraine`s energy and water infrastructure by Russia may also amount to crimes against humanity.
The report is the highest level international inquiry in the war so far.
The commission's three members are independent human rights experts, and its staff gets support and funding from the council and the UN human rights office.
Russia did not respond to the inquiry's appeals for information.