Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Vice-President of Bundestag; Victor Pinchuk, founder of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, PinchukArtCentre and YES; Wolfgang Ischinger, President of the Foundation Council of the Munich Security Conference Foundation, YES Board Member; Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine; Dr Claus Kress, Director of the Institute of International Peace and Security Law at the University of Cologne; Julia von Blumenthal, President of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Florian Jeßberger, Director of The Franz von Liszt Institute for International Criminal Justice at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin spoke at the official opening of the Russian War Crimes Exhibition.
Katrin Göring-Eckardt emphasised Russia's international law and humanitarian rights violations and noted the scale of the committed atrocities: “The exhibition Russian War Crime presents photographic evidence of Russian atrocities in Ukraine. At its heart are the innocent victims. The exhibition makes clear the massive extent of the terrible deeds committed. And it stands as a reminder to those of us in positions of political responsibility worldwide: These crimes must be punished. Russia and Putin must be held responsible”.
Victor Pinchuk in his speech said: “We created this exhibition because we hope that it will help decision-makers make a very strong decision to send more weapons and much quicker. Of course, we have shown this exhibition many times already, but the specific of this exhibition is that evil is very productive. Each time, in each edition of this exhibition, we have to show new and new images — because evil is working nonstop. Even today, you will see images of a crime committed recently in Chernihiv. Just two weeks ago, Russian ballistic missile destroyed a theatre there — seven people were killed, and more than 150 were wounded”.
Andriy Yermak addressed the audience through a video, emphasising again the vital significance of following the peace formula proposed by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky and demanding justice for the war crimes committed by Russia: “Since February 2022, 136,000 crimes have been committed against Ukrainians due to the large-scale Russian aggression. According to our data, about 11,000 civilians have been killed during this time, 497 of whom were children. And these are not the final figures. Another 20,000 children have been kidnapped and taken to the Russian. Many of them have living parents in Ukraine, but they were forcefully adopted. Mind you, these figures are not comprehensive, and the list of crimes is far from exhaustive. We demand justice for every tortured and killed Ukrainian, for every destroyed home, for every tear shed by a Ukrainian child”.
At the end of the discussion, Wolfgang Ischinger gave a closing speech. “There is no such thing as nice pictures about war and war crimes. There is no such thing as war crimes without blood, torn bodies, suffering, and genocidal activities. And I think it is our duty to show our population, our voters, and even our children that war is not something that exists in academic papers. War is actually something that exists at this moment, right here, in the heart of Europe. If one could fly to Kyiv, they would be there in practically less than two hours. And then we also remind you, and the point has been made, that it is unfortunate that we here in Berlin, here in Germany, tend to have forgotten so easily and so much about a war that actually came to Berlin 80 years ago. Some eighty years ago, we took it to Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet Union”. He added, “I think we should not do too little too late. I think we should do more right now”.
The Russian War Crimes exhibition was first shown at the former Russia House in Davos during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2022. Later, it was displayed, with great impact, in the Houses of Parliament in London, at NATO Headquarters and the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as in NYC during the UN General Assembly. In January of 2023, the exhibition returned to Davos, where its new version was again demonstrated during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. Later, this project was hosted at the Munich Security Conference, and in the summer of 2023, it was exhibited during the NATO Summit in Vilnius, in July 2023, and in August 2023 in Bratislava.
Special gratitude to the Ukraine 5 AM Coalition and the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers for providing information on war crimes.
The Russian War Crimes Exhibition can be found at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, from the 4th of September to the 16th of September.
Photos by PinchukArtCentre are available following the link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kun0jemda5s19tv/AAClsW7Uq4ORJUDiHWAo8LMya?dl=0