Ukraine war: Russian missile 'cemetery', Dutch aid and embassy safety

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews  with AP, Reuters, AFP
A war prosecutor observes collected parts of Russian rockets which were used to attack the city of Kharkiv, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.
A war prosecutor observes collected parts of Russian rockets which were used to attack the city of Kharkiv, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.   -  Copyright  AP Photo

A missile 'graveyard' in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv contains more than a thousand missiles, and is a reminder of some of the worst damage done since the Russian invasion. 

Local authorities hope they can help provide information for any prosecution case against Russians authorities and soldiers. And one day, maybe, they will become part of a museum of the atrocities in the country.

The blueish cylinders are lined up in rows according to their size, making an impressive if shocking sight from the air.

Dmytro Chubenko, spokesman for the Kharkiv region’s Prosecutor Office, said that the rockets have been collected since the first attacks, and after some time officials decided to organize them by type.

“These are pieces of evidence that an international criminal court would use,” he said during a visit to the place. He mentioned that some specialists have already come to the city to analyze the material.

The missiles, he added, were used against some important residential areas, like North Saltivka and Oleksiivka. He said that the authorities estimate that at least 1,700 people have been killed by shelling, including 44 children, in Kharkiv and its surroundings.

In summer, the buildings in areas like Saltivka were severely damaged, some blackened and others crumbling. There were practically no activities, with shops closed and apartments destroyed. The winter has not improved anything.

“We have lost everything, and it is not clear at all what we can expect in the future,” said Anna, a North Saltivka resident who left months ago and who didn't give her last name for security reasons.

The Kharkiv prosecutors' office said it will keep the rockets as long as needed so any expert or prosecutor can take the information they need to use as evidence against Russians.

Dutch government announced huge support package for Ukraine

The Dutch government announced a new aid package for Ukraine of €2.5 billion for 2023. 

"As long as Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine , the Netherlands will continue to support Ukraine ," militarily, humanitarianly and diplomatically, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter, adding that he had just had the Ukrainian president on the phone about it.

The Hague expects the amount to be needed for military support, support for repair work, and work towards war crimes accountability. 

"The exact use of the contribution depends on the needs of the Ukrainians and therefore on the course of the war," Rutte stressed.

The aid for repair work is intended for the rehabilitation of infrastructure - including energy infrastructure - hospitals, housing, agriculture and for mine clearance operations.

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said last week that the Netherlands had so far provided almost €1 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on 24 February.

Finland asks for diplomatic security guarantees from Moscow

Finland's Moscow embassy has asked Russia to guarantee the diplomatic mission's safety following an incident this week in which people wearing masks threw sledgehammers into the embassy yard.

The incident caused no injures or damage to the building, the Finnish foreign ministry said on Friday.

But Finland's deputy head of mission had "asked Russia to guarantee the security of staff and of the building, in keeping with the Geneva convention on diplomatic relations," a ministry spokesperson said.

A video posted on social media -- which could not immediately be verified but which would appear to be corroborated by the Foreign Ministry's comments -- shows a group of around 10 people running towards the building, which has Finnish and EU flags outside, and throwing several sledgehammers over the fence.