Following Russia’s withdrawal from Kyiv Oblast, the Ukrainians secured Hostomel, Bucha, and Irpin in the process. As of writing, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have secured their country all the way to the Belarussian-Ukrainian border and secured the Chernihiv region.
However, when Ukrainian troops recaptured Bucha, a city about 20 miles northwest of Kyiv, they were shocked as dead civilians lined the city. This puts Russia at the center of global outrage. They are accused of killing civilians in mass executions and other war crimes.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, authorities found a metal garage that was burnt, and in it was half of a woman’s body. The woman’s face was nowhere to be found, but her head was still intact, with the top of her skull detached. Her torso was also found burnt. In total, about 280 bodies were found so far by local authorities in a series of mass graves. Another report by Sky News quoted Bucha’s Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk stating that 300 residents were killed by the Russian forces. Reuters reported that 421 civilian casualties were found in the areas near Kyiv. However, this number could be far higher. Sky News and other news outlets such as Reuters verified the reports of mass graves but could not agree on an exact number of dead individuals.
Furthermore, reports say that the Russians prevented a number of corpses from being laid to rest. As a result, the bodies decomposed, with Ukrainian soldiers seeing that dogs had been feeding on a number of dismembered corpses. This confirms an earlier story by SOFREP where it was also reported that dogs were eating Russian corpses and that the Russians had eaten the dogs unknowingly.
These Ukrainian civilians were reportedly killed without provocation. The Russians had tied their hands together and were shot in the back of the head as if it was summary execution.
A video posted by the brother of Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir, showed the dead bodies in the city and also claimed that the Ukrainians were shot in the head with their hands behind their backs. This was also confirmed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych. Furthermore, according to the Ukrainian soldiers, some of the dead bodies were booby-trapped with mines so that if Ukrainians tried to move the body, they would be killed.
SOFREP’s SITREP for April 3rd also showed the same situation through some exclusive photos we obtained from our sources in Ukraine. These photos showed that individuals were stripped to the waist and that some people’s hands were tied behind them with white tape. Furthermore, the Mayor of Motyzhin, Olga Sukhenko, was found dead along with her husband and child. As SOFREP reported, her husband was found in a storm drain all bloodied, indicating signs of torture. There was also an unknown object(perhaps a belt) tightly around his neck, which may suggest that he was also choked.
International outrage soon followed, with Zelensky vehemently condemning the attacks, calling the Russians “murderers, torturers, rapists, and looters” who “deserve only death for their actions.”
“How could women be raped and murdered in front of their children? Their bodies tortured even after their deaths?” Zelensky asked. “Why did tanks crush the corpses of people? What did the Ukrainian city of Bucha do to your Russia? How did this become possible?” he said in outrage.
During his speech, he announced that he approved the creation of a “special mechanism of justice in Ukraine to investigate every crime of the occupiers on the territory of our country” and encouraged everybody to collect evidence.
In the speech, he also blasted the former leaders of Germany and France, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. They were the leaders who refused to give Ukraine a formal NATO membership action plan to Ukraine, stating that they were not ready yet and that their membership would damage diplomatic relations with Putin.
Merkel, through her spokeswoman, responded by saying that she stood by her decision in 2008 at the Bucharest summit and stated that she still supported Ukraine and stood with the country through their difficulties in the current war. Sarkozy did not comment on the matter.
Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Richard Moore claimed that they knew Putin had included summary executions as part of his plans to invade Ukraine and that they were really to be done by his military and intelligence services. He tweeted this through a quote tweet, citing the statement of British MP and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, stating that Russians must be held accountable for what they did to civilians in Bucha, Irpin, and everywhere else.
We knew Putin’s invasion plans included summary executions by his military and intelligence services. The reports of execution-style killings of civilians emerging from liberated areas are horrifying and chilling. https://t.co/Yea1Lhsqe6
— Richard Moore (@ChiefMI6) April 3, 2022
In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that these reports of summary executions were just “fake attacks” and demanded that there be an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the issue. They apparently saw the news of the summary executions as “provocations” and a “direct threat to international peace and security.”
Russia’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov also cast his doubts on the reports of mass graves in Bucha, stating that the videos and photographs could not be trusted. The Russian Defense Ministry found evidence of video manipulation on circulating videos of the mass graves. Despite their claims, multiple news organizations have verified the authenticity of the videos and photographs. They also accused the Ukrainians of faking the photos and videos, calling it a “staged performance.”
Ironically, UN’s Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet said that she was horrified by the images and news of civilians lying dead on the streets in Bucha. She described these incidents to be raising “serious and disturbing questions about possible war crimes, grave breaches of international humanitarian law, and serious violations of international human rights law.”
We continue to find out the horrors Russian troops left in Bucha. USA, give Ukraine a chance to stop Russian aggression. Military support we need the most: heavy artillery (152mm; 155mm), armored vehicles, tanks, military trucks, long-range anti-aircraft systems. pic.twitter.com/fopCzNp3Z9
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) April 4, 2022
Secretary of State Antony Blinken strongly condemned the Russian executions of civilians through a tweet, stating that “We are pursuing accountability using every tool available, documenting and sharing information to hold accountable those responsible.”
One of Russia’s allies, Beijing, refused to condemn the alleged summary execution and chose to stay silent. They have been known to balance their support for the Kremlin and the West in recent months. However, they have also been known to parrot Russia’s statements and concerns about their “security.” This is not a surprise as the Chinese describe their relationship with Russia as “limitless.”
As Ukrainian forces continue to gain ground back, it is likely that more evidence of atrocities against civilians and more mass graves is going to be found, among reports of rampant war crimes by the Russians continuously being reported in various news outlets. In fact, just last week, SOFREP reported that Russians had gang-raped a Ukrainian mother and a number of Ukrainian minors as they were leaving Ukrainian territory. These actions are in stark contrast to the public remarks made by Putin when his army invaded Ukraine and he appealed to Ukrainians as the brothers and sisters of Russians and claimed his invasion of the country was to “protect” from the supposed Nazi government of President Zelensky.
An ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) was launched early in March, investigating Russia for alleged war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity they may have committed. The investigation is said to go back as far as 2013 during the events leading up to the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Lastly, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had called for an independent investigation of the atrocities in Bucha and its surrounding areas.