Russian forces have shot dead civilians in Ukraine for blatant war crimes, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
An international human rights group based in London has released new evidence after conducting ground research in areas around the Ukrainian capital amid the Russian invasion. His report adds to the growing evidence that Russian troops have committed war crimes in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a charge repeatedly made by US and Ukrainian officials but strongly denied by the Kremlin.
Amnesty International said its crisis response investigators interviewed more than 20 people from villages and towns near Kiev, many of whom claimed to have witnessed or had direct knowledge that Russian soldiers had committed horrific acts of violence against unarmed civilians. throughout the region.
“In recent weeks, we have gathered evidence that Russian forces have committed extrajudicial executions and other illegal killings that should be investigated as possible war crimes,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Kalamar said on Thursday. “Evidence shows that unarmed civilians in Ukraine are being killed in their homes and on the streets in acts of unspeakable brutality and shocking brutality.”
The organization noted that premeditated killings of civilians, rape and torture, and inhumane treatment of prisoners of war were human rights violations and war crimes, and that those who committed them should be held criminally liable along with any authorities they knew or had grounds to know of such atrocities but did not attempt to stop or punish the perpetrators.
The International Criminal Court, the United Nations Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry and the Prosecutor General of Ukraine have launched an investigation into possible war crimes by Russian forces. But interviews conducted by Amnesty International and published on Thursday give a terrible window into these types of attacks with horrific details.
According to the report, one of the respondents, 18-year-old Ekaterina Tkacheva, told Amnesty International that she was at home with her parents in the village of Vorzel northwest of Kyiv on March 3 when several tanks painted the letter “Z” on which Russian troops marked their vehicles to Ukraine, rolled down their streets. Tkacheva said her mother and father, who were unarmed and dressed in civilian clothes, left the basement where they were hiding to go outside, telling her to stay put. Tkacheva said she heard gunshots then.
“When the tanks passed by, I jumped over the fence to the neighbor’s house. I wanted to check if they were alive, ”Tkacheva told Amnesty International. “I looked over the fence and saw my mom lying on her back on one side of the road and my dad face down on the other side of the street. I saw big holes in his coat. The next day I went to them. My father had six big holes in his back, my mother had a smaller hole in her chest. “
Seven days later, an unnamed volunteer who helped evacuate from the outskirts of Kyiv helped Tkacheva leave Vorzel. The volunteer told Amnesty International that he saw the bodies of Tkachova’s parents lying on the street near her home, the report said. Amnesty International said it also checked a video in which the volunteer and Tkacheva write their parents’ names, dates of birth and dates of death on a piece of cardboard before putting it next to their bodies covered in blankets.
An unnamed 46-year-old woman told Amnesty International that Russian troops had entered her village of Bogdanovka southeast of Kyiv on March 7 or 8. On the night of March 9, the woman said she heard gunshots from the windows below her home. , where she lived with her husband, 10-year-old daughter and 81-year-old mother-in-law. She told Amnesty International that she and her husband were shouting that they were civilians and that they were unarmed. As they descended, two Russian soldiers pushed them and their daughter into the boiler room.
“They broke in and slammed the door,” she told Amnesty International. “A minute later they opened the door and asked my husband if he had any cigarettes. He said he hadn’t smoked, hadn’t smoked in a couple of weeks. He was shot in the right arm. The second said, “Finish.” “And they shot him in the head.”
“He didn’t die right away. He was still breathing from 9.30 pm to 4 am, although he was unconscious, ”she added, Amnesty International reports. “It simply came to our notice then. When he took one last breath, I turned to my daughter and said, “I think Daddy’s dead.”
A neighbor told Amnesty International that they had witnessed Russian soldiers break into the woman’s house that night and also confirmed that they had seen her husband’s body collapse in the corner of the boiler room. On the same day, the woman and her child escaped from Bahdanauka. According to Amnesty International, the woman’s mother-in-law remained inactive.
Another woman from an unidentified village east of Kyiv told Amnesty International that two Russian soldiers entered her home on March 9, killed her husband and then raped her several times at gunpoint, while her young son hid nearby in a boiler room, the report said. . . An unnamed woman managed to escape from the village with her son, and they fled to Ukrainian-controlled territory.
“The deliberate killing of civilians is a violation of human rights and a war crime,” Kalamar said. “These deaths must be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice, including at the highest level.”
Respondents also told Amnesty International that they lost access to electricity, water and gas in the early days of the Russian invasion and that access to food was very limited. There was poor mobile service in the region, and some respondents said Russian soldiers confiscated or destroyed mobile phones every time they saw residents carrying them, or threatened to kill them for what they were.
Amnesty International found that threats of violence and intimidation were also widespread. A man in Gastomel, a city northwest of Kyiv, said he saw a dormitory of people hiding from the shelling and forced to take to the streets, where Russian soldiers immediately shot them in the head, causing them to fall to the ground. According to Amnesty International, two men from Bucha, another city northwest of Kiev, also said snipers regularly shot at them as they went to rescue food from a destroyed grocery store near their home.
Russian troops invaded neighboring Ukraine on February 24, seizing territory and shelling entire cities. But they faced strong resistance from Ukrainian troops, who recaptured part of the territory in recent days as Russian forces retreated.
According to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Irina Venediktov, in the recently recaptured cities near Kiev, in particular in Bucha, were found killed at least 410 civilians, which caused outrage in the world, while there was clear evidence of atrocities, including eyewitness testimony along with videos and images. , Russia said the scenes were “staged”.
Amnesty International said it had obtained evidence that civilians had also been killed in indiscriminate attacks in Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts, documented an air strike that killed civilians queuing for food in the northern city of Chernihiv, and collected evidence from civilians living under siege in the shattered cities of Kharkiv, Izyum and Mariupol.
“As these horrific reports of life under Russian occupation continue to emerge,” Kalamar said, “victims in Ukraine need to know that the international community is determined to take responsibility for their suffering.”