WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Three Wichita, Kansas, police officers have been suspended after they exchanged racist, homophobic or inappropriate messages with several other law enforcement officials, according to city officials.
The field of accounting operates with many specializations, and auditing and forensic accounting are two of the most common. Although forensic accounting analysis and auditing seem like similar specialties, significant differences exist within the two job functions. Forensic accountants search specifically for fraudulent activity within organizations; auditors verify that companies are compliant with federal regulations and organizational policies. Companies in need of accounting assistance should understand the difference between the two specialities.
According to Peter Vogt of Young Money, fraud and other white-collar crimes cost companies billions of the dollars a year. In an effort to uncover and prevent fraudulent activity and theft, companies employ forensic accountants. Forensic accounting analysis consists of analyzing financial documents to search for illegal activity within an organization, specifically white-collar crime. Forensic analysis is comprised of litigation support, investigation and dispute resolution. Some of the criminal activities that forensic accountants look for include fraud, money laundering and embezzlement. If a person within an organization is convicted of a crime, the forensic accountant responsible for finding the illegal may need to testify in court.
Forensic accountants typically possess at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Analytical and communication skills are very important to succeed as a forensic accountant. Individuals must understand corporate laws and regulations surrounding the accounting industry. Many employers desire to hire individuals who possess the certified fraud examiner designation. To meet certification qualifications, candidates must possess at least a bachelor's degree in any field or two years of fraud-related work experience. Candidates must pass a four-part, 500 multiple choice question test administered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Auditing is divided into two primary specializations - public auditing and internal auditing. Public auditors work for accounting companies that are hired to audit the financial records of public and private companies. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all public companies undergo an audit from a CPA designated accounting firm or individual. Public auditors file reports with the SEC regarding the results of the audit. Internal auditors work for private and public companies and are responsible for analyzing the organization's internal controls to prevent fraud. External and internal auditors may analyze a company's products, services, operations and processes. Auditors do not analyze every financial record of a company but rather a sample size.
Public auditors must possess the certified public accountant designation to file auditing reports with the SEC. The CPA test consists of four parts - Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation and Business Environment and Concepts. The test is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Most states require candidates possess 150 approved college hours. Therefore, many students participate in a combined Bachelor's/Master's accounting program to meet education requirements. Some internal auditors choose to pursue the certified internal auditor designation. CIA candidates must pass a four-part test and possess at least two years of work experience.
Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough announced Khara Lounsbury, CPA, has been designated a Certified Fraud Examiner by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. CFEs have expert knowledge in the areas of fraudulent financial transactions, criminology and ethics, legal elements of fraud, and fraud investigation methods.
Ms. Lounsbury joined HHM in 2009 and is a supervisor in HHM’s accounting and auditing group. She works primarily with assurance services leading, planning, and performing audits, as well as reviews and compilations. In addition to serving manufacturing and distribution, employee benefit plan, nonprofit and governmental clients, she also prepares individual and small business tax returns.
“Fraud is more common than many realize,” Ms. Lounsbury said. “According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ 2014 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, it is estimated that a typical organization loses 5 percent of revenues each year to fraud.”
As a Certified Fraud Examiner, Ms. Lounsbury will assist clients by examining and identifying fraud issues within organizations.
To obtain the CFE designation, candidates must have at least two years of professional experience in a field either directly or indirectly related to the detection or deterrence of fraud, pass a 500-question examination, commit to at least 20 hours of continuing professional education each year, and adhere to a strict code of professional ethics.
THURSDAY, July 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- For early-career sports medicine candidates, about 40 percent of the procedures they perform may be outside of the sports medicine subspecialty, according to a study published online June 30 in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.
Paul M. Inclan, M.D., from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues used the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Part-II Case List database to examine practice patterns among oral examination candidates and dual fellowship-trained sports medicine candidates. The analysis included 3,298 applicants indicating completion of a sports medicine fellowship between 2003 and 2020.
The researchers found that on average, sports medicine-trained candidates submitted 100.6 cases for review during the six-month case collection period: 58.6 percent sports medicine/arthroscopy cases; 29.1 percent trauma/general cases; 4.5 percent adult reconstruction cases; and 7.8 percent "other" cases per candidate. The proportion of sports medicine/arthroscopy cases did not change during the study period. Overall, 10.1 percent of individuals indicated a dual fellowship training. During the study period, the number of dual fellowship-trained candidates pursuing additional fellowship training in pediatrics and adult reconstruction increased, while the number of dual fellowship-trained candidates pursuing additional fellowship training in trauma decreased.
“The average young surgeon's practice is, realistically, that of a generalist surgeon with an emphasis on sports medicine,” the authors write.
Scotland’s national exams body has been accused of seeking to change a landmark education report to "save its own skin”.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats said a freedom of information (FOI) request had revealed that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to make edits to its draft independent analysis of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). This included one “key theme” it acknowledged was linked to “recommendations including organisational reform”.
The document's publication led to ministerial plans to replace the SQA and remove inspections from standards body Education Scotland.
Ministers confirmed recently that they had received a follow-up report on progressing reforms from Professor Ken Muir, former chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland. They expect to release it in the Spring, when Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville will also set out her response to Parliament.
But the Liberal Democrats say their FOI document haul reveals that the Scottish Government and its agencies were attempting to influence the report’s content, creating a possible knock-on effect for its recommendations and outcomes.
They also claim the FOI request, which was first reported in The Times on Wednesday morning, shows the SQA and its chief executive, Fiona Robertson, “fact checking” the OECD’s draft report.
They say this includes the agency and Ms Robertson disputing what was described as “one of the key themes that emerges” within the document and which is also used as "the basis for a number of recommendations including organisational reform”. The claim relates to the OECD’s draft stating that “there does not appear to be yet a successful alignment of qualifications and exams in Senior Phase with the CfE vision”. The SQA argued in its fact checking that this lacked evidence and context.
A version of the line was retained in the final report, with the SQA disputing it publicly. However, the Liberal Democrats insist the new documents show the agency sought to have this section altered before the report was ever published.
The party also highlighted how it previously uncovered that the Scottish Government was in possession of the draft OECD report. This sparked accusations that ministers were editing it.
Willie Rennie, education spokesperson for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “The Scottish Government and its agencies have regularly built in and exercised the right to ‘fact check’ independent reports. Once again, that doesn’t tell a fraction of the story of what was going on behind the scenes.
“This document haul confirms that there were efforts to influence the report’s content and key themes, with a possible knock-on effect for its recommendations and outcomes.
“The Chief Executive of the SQA tried to secure changes to a theme of a report which was known could be used to justify the reform of the organisation - even its break-up. This was the SQA trying to save its skin.
“Only John Swinney and the SNP could set up an independent review of Scottish education but schedule in months of ministerial editing and jiggery pokery through their own fact checking service.
“These documents must trigger the publishing of all the other documents that are being kept secret.”
On the issue of the Scottish Government refusing to provide its equivalent documents to The Times while the SQA provided its versions to the Liberal Democrats, Mr Rennie added: “This Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request has plunged the Scottish Government’s account of its handling of the OECD report into complete disarray. Ministers now have a lot of questions to answer.
“The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, which sums up everything you need to know about what has been going on for years among those charged with overseeing and stewarding Scottish education."
An SQA spokesman said: "SQA was asked to comment on the draft report, based on our responsibilities and expertise of the awarding and assessment system in Scotland. It was entirely for OECD to consider what changes it wanted to accept for the final report.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The OECD report is an independent review carried out by an independent body. The timing of its publication was determined by the OECD. The report, which was published in full on 21 June 2021, backed Curriculum for Excellence, and the Scottish Government has accepted its 12 recommendations.”
Commenting recently on Prof Muir's report, the Scottish Government said the document had been received and that its recommendations were being considered. "We expect the report will be published in the Spring and the Education Secretary will set out our response to Parliament at that point,” a spokeswoman added.
Ms. Leigh is currently the SVP of Internal Controls, Regulatory and test Management at Union Bank. Ms. Leigh has over 20 years of expertise in the Mortgage and Consumer Banking Industry, with particular emphasis in Risk Management and the related fields such as: Regulatory Compliance, Operational Risk Management, Loan Servicing, Default Management, Fraud Investigation, Quality Control and Government Risk. Ms. Leigh is equally versed in FHA & VA Lending, Loan Underwriting, and Staff Management. Ms. Leigh�s experience includes having worked with numerous leading companies within the Mortgage Industry, National Banks, Wall Street Firms, and Regulatory Business Entities. In addition to having her FHA Direct Endorsement and V.A. LAAP designations, Ms. Leigh has held one of the highest past track records of success recorded in the mortgage industry for recovery on the complex issue of HUD/FHA Loss Mitigation, in accordance with the HUD statistics. Ms. Leigh earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurial Studies from the California State University of Northridge. Michelle is also a graduate of the Mortgage Bankers Association, School of Mortgage Banking, Certified Fraud Examiner �CFE�, and Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager from the American Bankers Association. Michelle also holds various licensing and certifications for other areas of the mortgage banking industry in Internal Audit, Escrow, Real Estate Sales. Ms. Leigh has been a frequent public speaker/trainer at mortgage lending conferences such as Mortgage Bankers Association, Home Improvement Lenders Association, National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, National Mortgage News, American Conference Institute, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, U.S. Department of HUD/HOC�s and in-house for many mortgage lending shops across the country. The workshops relate to all areas of Operational Risk, Regulatory Compliance, Government Lending and Servicing, Fraud Handling, and Quality Control.Ms. Leigh has co-authored the only HUD-endorsed FHA Claims Manual for FHA Loss Mitigation sold and has been responsible for updating many of the industries teaching manuals with current information on a national level. In addition, Ms. Leigh has written several published articles for various lenders, their correspondents and business partners.
Lawrence is a senior partner and leads Raffa’s Forensic Accounting Services Group. He has more than 35 years of forensic consulting, audit and accounting and tax experience in public accounting and the private sector. He has performed forensic accounting services for governmental entities, public and private companies, nonprofits and individuals.Lawrence has been involved in numerous high-profile cases as a consulting and testifying expert. He has conducted and led teams of forensic accountants on fraud investigations ranging from small family-owned businesses to large governmental organizations with losses of over $500 million.Lawrence is a CPA licensed in Virginia. He is also certified by the ACFE as a Certified Fraud Examiner, is Certified in Financial Forensics by the AICPA and certified by NACVA as a Certified Valuation Analyst. He is a frequent lecturer and instructor with various professional and educational organizations.
WEDNESDAY, July 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- They are called "forever chemicals" because they linger in the human body and can contribute to the risk of everything from cancer to childhood obesity.
Now, new research on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) finds they also exact a huge financial toll, costing the U.S. health system billions every year.
“Our findings add to the substantial and still-mounting body of evidence suggesting that exposure to PFAS is harming our health and undermining the economy,” said study co-author Linda Kahn. She is an assistant professor in the departments of pediatrics and population health at NYU Langone Health, in New York City.
While past research has found impacts of PFAS exposure including low birth weight, this study finds a much broader range of health consequences across the lifespan, Kahn said.
PFAS include 4,700 manmade chemicals used in the production of water- and oil-resistant clothing, electronics, and nonstick cookware. It is believed that people ingest these as their food comes into contact with packaging.
The chemicals have been detected in the blood of millions of people for decades, according to the study authors, and may disrupt hormone function.
For the study, the research team used blood samples obtained from adults and children who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to determine how many Americans were likely exposed to PFAS chemicals in 2018.
The investigators then analyzed data from dozens of studies in the past decade that explored diseases connected to the substances.
The researchers estimated the national economic cost of the medical bills and lost worker productivity from the top five medical conditions linked to PFAS exposure, using models from earlier investigations.
The team found that childhood obesity was the largest contributor to the overall economic toll of PFAS exposure. It cost about $2.7 billion.
Hypothyroidism in women cost $1.26 billion. With this condition, the thyroid cannot release enough hormones into the bloodstream.
Investigators also included eight other conditions with suspected links to PFAS exposure, including endometriosis, obesity in adults, and pneumonia in children.
After adding in those conditions, total costs soared to $63 billion.
“Our results strongly support the recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to lower the safe allowable level of these substances in water,” study senior author Dr. Leonardo Trasande said in an NYU Langone news release. “Based on our estimates, the cost of eradicating contamination and replacing this class of chemical with safer alternatives is ultimately justified when considering the tremendous economic and medical risks of allowing them to persist in the environment.”
The research team next plans to examine the long-term risks of PFAS, Trasande added.
The study authors also plan to estimate the economic burden of other endocrine-disrupting contaminants, such as bisphenols (substances used in many plastics and can linings), fire retardants and pesticides.
The report was published online July 26 in the journal Exposure and Health.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more on PFAS.
SOURCE: NYU Langone Health, news release, July 25, 2022
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Three Wichita, Kansas, police officers have been suspended after they exchanged racist, homophobic or inappropriate messages with several other law enforcement officials, according to city officials.
City Manager Robert Layton ordered that the officers be suspended for 15 days, rejecting interim police chief Lemuel Moore's planned eight-day suspensions as too little, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Layton said the officers will need to undergo psychological exams when they return before they can be moved from desk work to regular duties.
Investigations into the messages began after The Eagle reported about them in March and noted that none of those involved had been disciplined.
“The argument that this was a private conversation is superseded by the fact that the public had obtained the conversation and it was no longer private to the individuals involved,” Moore said Thursday.
A city report issued in April criticized department leaders for not adequately disciplining police involved in the messages and mishandling their investigation of the incidents.
Investigators in Kansas found 13 Wichita police officers, three Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputies and two city firefighters sent and received inappropriate text messages.
The employees suspended Thursday include a Black officer who sent a racist George Floyd meme during the protests of 2020; a white officer who forwarded the meme to a deputy; and a white officer who identified with the “Three Percenters,” an anti-government militia group connected to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Two other officers received written reprimands and must undergo sensitivity training within 45 days. They were in a text thread where SWAT team members joked about killing civilians and being “the ultimate de-escalators.”
Three other officers resigned from the department during the investigation.
Law enforcement officers’ social media posts were thrust into the spotlight across the country after a 2019 research project found officers in at least five states bashing immigrants and Muslims, promoting racist stereotypes, identifying with right-wing militia groups and, especially, glorifying police brutality.
For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle.
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 28, 2022--
Lemonade (NYSE: LMND), the insurance company powered by AI and social impact, today announced the closing of the acquisition of car insurance provider Metromile. Metromile shareholders received 7.3 million LMND shares, while Lemonade received a business with over $155m in cash, over $110m in premiums, an insurance entity licensed in 49 states, and a team unsurpassed in harnessing precision data for auto insurance.
“We launched Lemonade Car a few months ago, and believe it’s the most delightful product on the market. We also believe auto insurance is challenging for newcomers and disadvantaged by a lack of data which is why we bought Metromile,” said Shai Wininger, Lemonade co-CEO and cofounder. “For ten years, Metromile’s intricate sensors monitored billions of miles of driving, while their AI cross-referenced this data with hundreds of thousands of claims, to accurately score each tap of the brake and turn of the wheel. We believe that adding these models into the Lemonade Car platform will make the most delightful car insurance also the most competitive, precise, and fair. That’s why we’re so excited to welcome Metromile into the Lemonade family.”
Most Metromile employees will transition to roles at Lemonade, and Metromile CEO, Dan Preston, has assumed the role of Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives.
“It’s hard to imagine a better home for Metromile than Lemonade. While Metromile was at the forefront of using big data and AI in car insurance, Lemonade forged a parallel path for several complementary lines of insurance. That makes for a powerful combination,” said Dan Preston, SVP Strategic Initiatives, Lemonade. “The upshot is that Metromile’s mission to connect the world to personalized insurance receives a big boost today. While the Metromile brand will sunset over time, its promise to consumers will be realized bigger, better, and sooner now that we’ve joined forces.”
The Metromile app and brand will continue in-market until all customers can be seamlessly transitioned to the Lemonade app and brand. Metromile common stock will cease trading on NASDAQ today.
Lemonade offers renters, homeowners, car, pet, and life insurance. Powered by artificial intelligence and social impact, Lemonade’s full stack insurance carriers in the US and the EU replace brokers and bureaucracy with bots and machine learning, aiming for zero paperwork and instant everything. A Certified B-Corp, Lemonade gives unused premiums to nonprofits selected by its community, during its annual Giveback. Lemonade is currently available in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, and France, and continues to expand globally.
Follow @lemonade_inc on Twitter for updates.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements contained in this press release that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements including with respect to the anticipated impact of the Metromile transaction. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our genuine results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following: Our history of losses and the fact that we may not achieve or maintain profitability in the future; our ability to retain and expand our customer base; the fact that the “Lemonade” brand may not become as widely known as incumbents’ brands or the brand may become tarnished; the denial of claims or our failure to accurately and timely pay claims; our ability to attain greater value from each user; the novelty of our business model and its unpredictable efficacy and susceptibility to unintended consequences; the possibility that we could be forced to modify or eliminate our Giveback, which could undermine our business model; the examinations and other targeted investigations by our primary and other state insurance regulators that could result in adverse examination findings and necessitate remedial actions; our limited operating history; our ability to manage our growth effectively; the impact of intense competition in the segments of the insurance industry in which we operate on our ability to attain or increase profitability; the unavailability of reinsurance at current levels and prices, which could limit our ability to write new business; our ability to renew reinsurance contracts on comparable duration and terms to those currently in effect; our exposure to counterparty risks as a result of reinsurance; the loss of personal customer information, damage to our reputation and brand, or harm to our business and operating results as a result of security incidents or real or perceived errors, failures or bugs in our systems, website or app; our genuine or perceived failure to protect customer information and other data, respect customers’ privacy, or comply with data privacy and security laws and regulations; our ability to comply with extensive insurance industry regulations and the need to incur additional costs or devote additional resources to comply with changes to existing regulations; our exposure to additional regulatory requirements specific to other vertical markets that we enter or have entered, including auto, pet and life insurance, and the need to devote additional resources to comply with these regulations; the ability of Lemonade to successfully integrate Metromile’s operations, product lines and technology; the ability of Lemonade to implement its plans, forecasts and other expectations with respect to Metromile’s business after the completion of the transaction and realize additional opportunities for growth and innovation; the ability of Lemonade to realize the anticipated synergies from the proposed transaction in the anticipated amounts or within the anticipated timeframes or costs expectations or at all; the ability to maintain relationships with Lemonade’s and Metromile’s respective employees, customers, other business partners and governmental authorities; and the other risks, uncertainties and important factors contained and identified; and our inability to predict the lasting impacts of COVID-19 to our business in particular, and the global economy generally. These and other important factors are discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 1, 2022 and in our other filings with the SEC could cause genuine results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s beliefs as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change.
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PUB: 07/28/2022 08:55 AM/DISC: 07/28/2022 08:56 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Russian forces assaulted a nursing home in the eastern region of Luhansk. Dozens of elderly and disabled patients, many of them bedridden, were trapped inside without water or electricity.
The March 11 assault set off a fire that spread throughout the facility, suffocating people who couldn’t move. A small number of patients and staff escaped and fled into a nearby forest, finally getting assistance after walking for 5 kilometers (3 miles).
In a war awash in atrocities, the attack on the nursing home near the village of Stara Krasnyanka stood out for its cruelty. And Ukrainian authorities placed the fault squarely on Russian forces, accusing them of killing more than 50 vulnerable civilians in a brutal and unprovoked attack.
But a new U.N. report has found that Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for what happened in Stara Krasnyanka, which is about 580 kilometers (360 miles) southeast of Kyiv. A few days before the attack, Ukrainian soldiers took up positions inside the nursing home, effectively making the building a target.
At least 22 of the 71 patients survived the assault, but the exact number of people killed remains unknown, according to the United Nations.
The report by the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights doesn’t conclude the Ukrainian soldiers or the Russian troops committed a war crime. But it said the battle at the Stara Krasnyanka nursing home is emblematic of the human rights office’s concerns over the potential use of “human shields” to prevent military operations in certain areas.
This story is part of an ongoing investigation from The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” that includes the War Crimes Watch Ukraine interactive experience and an upcoming documentary.
The aftermath of the attack on the Stara Krasnyanka home also provides a window into how both Russia and Ukraine move quickly to set the narrative for how events are unfolding on the ground — even when those events may still be shrouded by the fog of war. For Ukraine, maintaining the upper hand in the fight for hearts and minds helps to ensure the continued flow of billions of dollars in Western military and humanitarian aid.
Russia’s frequently indiscriminate shelling of apartment buildings, hospitals, schools and theaters has been the primary cause of the war’s thousands of civilian casualties. Ukraine and its allies, including the United States, have rebuked Moscow for the deaths and injuries and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.
But Ukraine also must abide by the international rules of the battlefield. David Crane, a former Defense Department official and a veteran of numerous international war crime investigations, said the Ukrainian forces may have violated the laws of armed conflict by not evacuating the nursing home’s residents and staff.
“The bottom-line rule is that civilians cannot intentionally be targeted. Period. For whatever reason,” Crane said. “The Ukrainians placed those people in a situation which was a killing zone. And you can’t do that.”
The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline,” drawing from a variety of sources, have independently documented hundreds of attacks across Ukraine that likely constitute war crimes. The vast majority appear to have been committed by Russia. But a handful, including the destruction of the Stara Krasnyanka care home, indicate Ukrainian fighters are also to blame.
The first reports in the media about the Stara Krasnyanka nursing home largely reflected statements issued by Ukrainian officials more than a week after the fighting ended.
Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, declared in a March 20 post to his Telegram account that 56 people had been killed “cynically and deliberately” by “Russian occupiers” who “shot at close range from a tank.” The office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said in a statement issued the same day that 56 elderly people died due to the “treacherous actions” of the Russian forces and their allies. Neither statement mentioned whether Ukrainian soldiers had entered the home before the fighting began.
The Luhansk regional administration, which Haidai leads, did not respond to requests for comment. The Ukrainian prosecutor general's office told the AP on Friday that its Luhansk division continues to investigate Russia's “indiscriminate shelling and forced transfer of persons” from the nursing home. About 50 patients were killed in the attack, the office said, fewer than it stated in March. The prosecutor general's office did not directly respond to the U.N. report, but said it also is looking into whether Ukrainian troops had been in the home.
Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years in the mostly Russian-speaking eastern industrial heartland, the Donbas, which includes the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. They have declared two independent “people's” republics, which were recognized by Russia just before the war began. After the invasion, these separatist fighters came under Russian command.
Viktoria Serdyukova, the human rights commissioner for the Luhansk separatist government, said in a March 23 statement that the Ukrainian troops were responsible for casualties at the nursing home. The residents had been taken hostage by Ukrainian “militants” and many of them were “burned alive” in a fire started by the Ukrainians as they were retreating, she said.
The U.N. report examined violations of international human rights law that have occurred in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. The Stara Krasnyanka attack totals just two paragraphs in the 38-page report. Although brief, this short section is the most detailed and independent examination of the incident that’s been made public.
The Stara Krasnyanka section is based on eyewitness accounts from staff who survived the attack and information provided by relatives of residents, according to a U.N. official who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is still working to fully document the case, the official said. Among the remaining questions are how many people were killed and who they were.
At the beginning of March, according to the U.N. report, “when active hostilities drew nearer to the care house,” its management requested repeatedly that local authorities evacuate the residents. But an evacuation wasn’t possible because Ukrainian forces were believed to have mined the surrounding area and blocked roads, the report said. The home is built on a hill and is near a key highway, which made the location strategically important.
On March 7, Ukrainian soldiers entered the nursing home, according to the U.N. Two days later, they “engaged in an exchange of fire” with the Moscow-backed separatists, “although it remains unclear which side opened fire first,” the report said. No staff or residents were injured in this first exchange.
On March 11, 71 residents and 15 staff remained in the home with no access to water or electricity. That morning, the Luhansk separatist forces, which the U.N. referred to as “Russian-affiliated armed groups,” attacked with heavy weapons, the report said.
“A fire started and spread across the care house, while the fighting was ongoing,” according to the U.N. An unspecified number of patients and staff fled the home and ran into a nearby forest and were eventually met by the separatist fighters, who gave them assistance, according to the U.N.
A correspondent for the state-owned Russia-1 news channel gained access to the war-ravaged home after the battle and posted a video to his Telegram account in April that accused the Ukrainian soldiers of using “helpless old people” as human shields.
The correspondent, Nikolai Dolgachev, was accompanied into the building by a man identified in the video as a Luhansk separatist soldier who goes by the call sign “Wolf.” The extensive damage to the building, both inside and out, is visible in the video. A body is laying on the floor. The AP Checked that the location in the video posted by Dolgachev is the care home by comparing it to other videos and photos of the building.
Dolgachev said the Ukrainian troops set up a “machine gun nest” and an anti-tank weapon in the home. In the video, he stops amid the rubble inside the building to rest his hand on the anti-tank weapon, which he incorrectly called a Tor. The Tor is a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.
Ian Williams, a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reviewed the video and said the weapon is an RK-3 Corsar, a Ukrainian-built portable anti-tank guided missile.
While the opposing sides blame each other for the Stara Krasnyanka tragedy, the grim reality is that much of the war in Ukraine is being fought in populated areas, increasing the potential for civilian casualties. Those deaths and injuries become almost inevitable when the civilians are caught in the line of fire.
“The Russians are the bad guys (in this conflict). That’s pretty clear," Crane said. "But everybody is accountable to the law and the laws of armed conflict.”
Associated Press writer Lynn Berry in Washington and photographer Zoya Shu in Berlin contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE — The Associated Press and “Frontline” are gathering information from organizations including the Centre for Information Resilience, Bellingcat, the International Partnership for Human Rights, the Ukrainian Healthcare Center, Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights to inform the War Crimes Watch Ukraine interactive experience.
Contact AP’s investigations team at email@example.com.
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