A Russian soldier who was allegedly deployed to Ukraine was detained last Saturday, April 9, after a video was posted on various social media platforms which clearly showed a baby being sexually abused by the soldier.
Based on reports, the soldier was arrested in Russia and not in Ukraine. This may mean that the sexual abuse may have been filmed before the invasion. It is also possible that he had been sent home during the war. It is also unknown whether he was actually deployed to Ukraine or not.
Here at SOFREP, we strive to be as objective with the known facts as we can. We resisted jumping on this story when it came out because the information on it was sketchy. Today, we lay out what information we could find regarding the situation to determine whether the videos were taken before the invasion, during, or after.
It was revealed that the soldier in question was Alexey Bychkov. According to users of the Vkontakte platform, Bychkov is a lieutenant from Russia’s military unit No.64044, a unit based in Pskov, Northwestern Russia. Internet users also revealed that he was said to be born in 1997 in Stavropol but currently resides in Krasnodar. These pieces of information were not from official documents and could not be verified.
According to a report done by Express UK, all Russian military units from Pskov were operating in Ukraine as per a statement by Chairman of the Council of Veterans of the 76th Guards Division of the Airborne Forces Yuri Sosedov.
The soldier had allegedly filmed and photographed himself conducting the sexual abuse and sent these to a fellow Russian soldier. From here, the videos and photos are spread online saying these events occurred in Ukraine. If true, it would have been the latest addition to the list of Russian war crimes that have been piling up since the invasion began.
A military man who videotaped sexual acts with an infant was detained in #Russia.
The name of him is Alexey Bychkov. It is reported that he filmed such content for the sake of selling it on the #darknet. He was let down after he sent the videos with the child to his colleagues. pic.twitter.com/rcqmZFzTyv
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 10, 2022
Belarusian news outlet Nexta reported that the soldier intended to sell the content on the darknet but was turned in by his fellow soldiers videos after he sent the videos to them. They do not mention whether the crimes were committed in Ukraine or not.
According to Russian investigative journalists at The Insider and Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian journalists from “That’s How,” Bychkov had done unimaginable sexual abuse on the child. However, they also admitted that the date of the videos could not be verified.
Hundreds of rape cases have been recorded in Ukraine, allegedly done by Russian soldiers. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talked about these instances during his speech in Lithuania. He even mentioned Bychkov by name.
“Hundreds of cases of rape have been recorded, including underage girls, very young children. And even a baby!” he said. “Even this person, this Russian savage Bychkov from Pskov, is identified. The paratrooper or special services officer who sent this video to his comrades.”
Ukraine was quick to use it for their own propaganda purposes as President Zelensky spoke about it in a video to the world.
“This is the Russian military. ‘Defender’ of children.”
You may find Zelensky talking about the alleged rape at the 3:01 mark.
"The President of #Ukraine, Zelensky told the Parliament of Lithuania about the Russian army’s crimes in #Ukraine, including the audacious rape of a baby by a paratrooper from the Pskov division," Channel 5 reported pic.twitter.com/noU593PcF3
— KyivPost (@KyivPost) April 12, 2022
Olexander Scherba, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Austria from 2014 to 2021, tweeted about the incident saying, “Meet a monster. A baby-rapist,” and added that he could not watch the videos. He admitted that someone told him that it was a pre-war video but said, “I don’t know. But it’s a Russian soldier, Russian army. The one that is in #Ukraine now.”
A local news outlet in Ukraine verifies that the military unit number 64044 was in Kharkiv as they had captured a 21-year old soldier from that specific unit. Criminal proceedings were started to jail the soldier in question. However, it makes no mention of a baby being raped.
With all the information available to us at the moment, it cannot be confirmed whether Bychkov did record these videos in Ukraine as he has allegedly had a history of pedophilia even before the war, according to users of Vkontakte.
It is also important to note that the Russian soldier received a fine for transporting children without a car seat in Krasnodar, Russia, on March 8, according to “That’s How.” The Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24. He was caught by the police when the owner of the car, Anastasia Tsekres, saw the alleged rape videos. Furthermore, Russian troops were already building up months before the invasion. Tsekres could not be reached for comment. This account suggests very strongly that the rape of the child occurred in Russia as Bychkov could not be getting a ticket in Russia while also fighting with his unit in Ukraine.
Both sides have been publishing their propaganda regarding the war. As such, the limited number of information available is not substantial enough to fully connect the atrocity to when he was deployed in Ukraine.
However, what is sure is that Bychkov did rape a baby as he was arrested by local Russian authorities. This in itself is the core issue, as no baby should ever be exposed to sexual abuse.
The most recent verified account of rape was in Shevchenkove village in the Brovary district, where a Ukrainian mother was gang-raped by Russian troops after they had shot her husband. Their son was in the next room while she got raped multiple times.
A radio intercept also revealed Russians casually talking about raping a 16-year-old Ukrainian girl who was allegedly gang-raped by three Russian tank soldiers. In Irpin, a 15-year-old girl was raped when she was held hostage by Russians and placed in a basement. She was filmed by these soldiers.
In Mariupol, multiple instances of rape had also emerged, with one woman being raped in front of her son; she later died due to her wounds. A 3-year-old in Mykolaiv was also raped and subsequently killed along with her family.
Last April 8, Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova reported that Russian soldiers had kidnapped 120,000 Ukrainian children. They were allegedly raped and sent over to the Russian border. Denisova said that troops raped an 11-year-old boy in Bucha, along with a 14-year-old girl. As of writing, the young girl is now pregnant. According to the head of the military administration of Kryvyi Rih, Oleksandr Vilkul, Russians had also raped a 16-year-old girl and an elderly 78-year-old woman.