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Opposition MP files complaint against Putin, Russian officials over Ukraine invasion

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A lawmaker from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has filed criminal complaints against Russian President Vladimir Putin and several Russian officials for committing crimes against civilians in Ukraine, Turkish media outlets reported.

The CHP lawmaker filed the complaint at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Monday against Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Defense Minister Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov in addition to Putin on charges of committing crimes against humanity, genocide and violating international law.

In his petition, Tanal accused the Russian army of bombing residential areas in Ukraine, causing civilian deaths and damaging the infrastructure of the country, adding that the Russian attacks led to dozens of civilian deaths while hundreds of others have been injured. He said Russia violated both the Geneva Convention and the United Nations Charter by committing these crimes in Ukraine.

According to Tanal, who is also a lawyer, as a Turkish citizen he has a right to file complaints against the Russian officials because the crimes they allegedly committed are crimes against humanity. He said the Russian officials could stand trial in Turkey based on the Article 8 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Ukrainians living in Turkey and representatives of several nongovernmental organizations have been protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine since its start on Feb. 24.

Putin, who had amassed over 100,000 Russian troops around Ukraine in recent months but denied he had any intention of invading, announced a military operation in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The move came just days after Russia recognized two separatist-held enclaves in the eastern part of the country, which drew international condemnation and announcements of tougher sanctions on Moscow.

Ukraine has officially asked Turkey to close the Dardanelles strait — and thus access to the Black Sea — to Russian ships.

NATO member Turkey, which has strong ties with both Russia and Ukraine, did not immediately respond to this request.

But Turkey on Sunday officially recognized Russia’s attacks on Ukraine as a “state of war” and said it was implementing an international treaty giving Ankara the power to limit warships’ passage through the strategic Dardanelles and Bosporus straits.

The 1936 Montreux Convention governs the free movement of commercial ships in peacetime through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles straits and grants Turkey the right to block warships in wartime if threatened.

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