GENEVA: The UN Human Rights Council on Friday overwhelmingly voted to create a top-level investigation into violations committed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Thirty-two members of the 47-seat council voted to establish the highest-level probe possible into alleged rights violations, in abid to hold perpetrators responsible.
Only Russia itself and Eritrea voted against.
The remaining 13 members abstained -- including Moscow's traditional backers China, Venezuela and Cuba.
"I thank all those who voted for the right cause," Ukraine's ambassador said.
The heavy blow to Russia came after the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday issued its own powerful rebuke, with a 141-5 vote to deplore Moscow's invasion and demand an immediate withdrawal.
The council in Geneva also condemned "in the strongest possible terms the human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law resulting from the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine".
The text, presented by Kyiv, called for the "swift and verifiable withdrawal of Russian Federation troops and Russian-backed armed groups from the entire territory of Ukraine".
Most importantly, Friday's vote opens the way to create an independent international commission of inquiry -- the highest level probe that can be ordered by the council -- "to investigate all alleged violations and abuses... in the context of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine."
It calls for the appointment of three investigators to "establish the facts, circumstances, and root causes of any such violations and abuses," and to gather evidence "with a view to ensuring that those responsible are held accountable."
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has meanwhile already begun investigating possible war crimes in Ukraine.