A man’s hands are tied behind his back with a piece of white cloth. Another man is lying alone, wrapped in a bicycle by a grassy shore. A third man is lying in the middle of the road close to the charred remains of a burnt-out car.
The city of Bucha has endured five weeks of almost constant firefighting. Now, officials and rights groups are blaming the civilian deaths on the deceased Russian forces.
“Just executed people are still standing along Yabluska Street in Bucha. Their hands are tied behind their backs with white ‘civilian’ rags, they were shot in the back of the head. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they have committed here,” it said. Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk told Reuters on Saturday.
Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said on Sunday that reports emerging from cities in the Kyiv region revealed a “post-apocalyptic picture” of life under Russian occupation.
“This is a special appeal that aims to draw the world’s attention to the war crimes, crimes against humanity, which were committed by Russian troops in Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel,” Arestovych said. “It’s liberated cities, a picture from horror movies, a post-apocalyptic picture.”
The victims of these war crimes have already been found, including raped women whom they tried to burn, local officials killed, children killed, elderly people killed, men killed, many of them with handcuffs, traces of torture and shots fired in the back of the head “Robbery, attempted seizure of gold, valuables, carpets, washing machines. This will, of course, be taken into account by Ukraine’s prosecution and law enforcement and international criminal courts.”
CNN has not been able to independently confirm the details of the men’s deaths. CNN has requested a comment from the Russian Ministry of Defense regarding allegations of execution of civilians in the Kyiv region and other parts of Ukraine.
Evidence of apparent atrocities in Bucha came when Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that it had documented allegations of war crimes in the occupied territories of the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv regions.
The rights group said on Sunday that the allegations included “a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of a man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between 27 February and 14 March, 2022. “
In Bucha, “Russian forces rounded up five men and summarily executed one of them” on March 4, HRW wrote. A witness told the rights group that soldiers forced the men to kneel on the road and pulled their shirts over their heads before shooting one of the men in the back of the head.
HRW also claims that on February 27, six men were gathered in the village of Staryi Bykiv in the Chernihiv region and later executed.
In Malaya Rohan, a village in the Kharkiv region, a Russian soldier repeatedly raped a woman at a school where she was staying with her family on March 13, the victim told HRW. “She said he beat her and cut her face, neck and hair with a knife,” HRW wrote. The woman fled to Kharkiv the following day, “where she was able to receive medical treatment and other services.”
And in the village of Vorzel, 31 miles northwest of Kiev, “Russian soldiers threw a smoke grenade into a basement and then shot a woman and a 14-year-old child as they came out of the basement where they had been sheltering.” said HRW.
“The cases we documented constitute indescribable, deliberate atrocities and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” said Hugh Williamson, HRW’s Director of Europe and Central Asia, in the statement. “Rape, murder and other acts of violence against persons in the custody of the Russian forces should be investigated as war crimes.”
CNN has not independently verified the details of the HRW report and has requested a comment from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The President of the Council of the European Union, Charles Michel, promised new sanctions against Russia, saying he was “shocked by gruesome images of atrocities committed by the Russian army in the Kyiv-liberated region # BuchaMassacre”, in a Twitter post.
Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, also expressed his shock at “news of atrocities committed by Russian forces.”
“[The] EU helps Ukraine document war crimes. All cases must be pursued, namely by @CIJ_ICJ [the International Court of Justice]”The EU will continue to have strong support for Ukraine,” Borrell tweeted on Sunday.
CNN’s Tara John and Nathan Hodge reported from Lviv. Jonny Hallam reported from Atlanta. Amy Cassidy in London and James Frater reported from Brussels.