In Borodianka revealed the horrors of the Russian occupation

Near her garden shed lies the body of a man lying face down with a bag over his head and his hands tied behind his back. His pants are pulled down. There are large bruises on his left leg and a large wound on his head.

Next to his body is a single bullet casing.

“He was executed with a shot to the head,” said an officer of the Ukrainian National Police. There are no documents on the man, but authorities at the scene say all indications are that he was another civilian victim during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.

The body is one of many recently found in cities east of Kiev, which were occupied by Russian forces.

Borodianka was home to 13,000 people before the war, but most fled after Russia’s invasion. What was left of the city, after intense shelling and devastating airstrikes, was then occupied by Russian forces, which moved in on 28 February.

Yuriy Pomin was still in town when the Russian attack started.

“The scariest thing was when their plane came. They flew over our house and threw bombs,” Pomin told CNN.

Today, the 33-year-old is cleaning up his fourth-floor apartment. The multi-storey building next to his was razed to the ground by a Russian strike, and he moves what is left of his belongings to another house outside the city.

“I can not stay here,” he said. “It is not certain.”

The month-long Russian occupation has left a devastating mark on the city.

Not only was it almost completely destroyed by long-range attacks – with buildings reduced to piles of rubble – but the Russian occupying forces then used some of the houses as their own personnel barracks.

Yuriy Pomin's house in Borodianka, which was destroyed after days of Russian bombing.

Kostychenko and her husband Oleksand fled when the shelling first began, only to return after the city returned to Ukrainian control on April 1.

While their home was apparently untouched by the powerful shelling that destroyed Borodianka, it was ransacked inside. Clothes and discarded bottles lay on the floor. They found their pet bird dead in the cage.

“Alcohol is everywhere; empty bottles in the hallway, under things,” the 44-year-old said. “They (the Russians) smoked a lot, put cigarettes on the table. They used the bedding as their own.”

Most of the furniture was either damaged or damaged, as was their TV.

“They did everything they wanted,” Kostychenko said. “Our jewels were taken away. They are nothing but looters.”

Nearby shops have also been pillaged, their windows smashed and contents either stolen or sprayed across the floors.

Borodianka unemployment office, marred by the Russian V-symbol.
The letter “V”, an abbreviation for Vostok (meaning ‘east’ in Russian) – and a symbol used by Russia’s eastern military district together with the letter “Z”, an emblem of Moscow’s so-called “special military operation” – – was painted on buildings, vehicles and checkpoints.

The local unemployment office and town hall were fortified and transformed into the headquarters of Russian troops stationed in the city. Both were also covered by Vs.

Borodianka var a springboard for Russian units as they advanced toward Kiev through suburbs like Bucha and Irpin. They met fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces and were forced to withdraw.

Remains of destroyed Russian hardware in the dozens of garbage now cities and towns around the capital, and fox holes and artillery positions became almost untouched.

Authorities have imposed a curfew throughout the Kyiv region until April 7, urging residents to stay indoors while conducting demining operations.

Moscow has denied attacking civilians, but volunteers are working with police to pick up the bodies of slain civilians left to rot in the open.

Volunteers collect the body of a man who was shot while driving in his car in Borodianka, Ukraine.

“We are gathering people who were shot by the Russians. Civilians who were tortured. We have been working for two days,” said Hennadiy Avramenko, 45.

CNN watched as Avramenko and his colleague retrieved the body of a 44-year-old Ukrainian from a car. He was shot through the heart while driving and his car crashed into a ditch next to the road.

“Psychologically, it’s hard,” Avramenko said. “The worst thing is that we do not find soldiers, only innocent people.

“They were shot for no reason,” he added.

The volunteers pick up two more corpses in the space of an hour. One of them was the charred body of a person hit by an artillery round, the other an elderly man who was shot while riding his bike.

“(Monday) we picked up seven people, and (by noon on Tuesday) we are already at six o’clock,” Avramenko said.

Russian attacks on Borodianka were more intense than in most other areas around the capital Kiev, with entire multi-storey buildings raised to the ground.

In and around Borodianka, the authorities have only just begun to comb the remains of most of the buildings, knowing that they will continue to find the dead as they do.

Despite the withdrawal of Putin’s army from their city, the people of Borodianka fear that the devastation they sowed will last for months, if not years.

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