Dozens of dead civilians found in Kyiv suburb Russian occupying forces were driven out just days ago, leaving the streets "strewn" with dead bodies
Journalists and Ukrainian officials have reported that dozens of dead civilians were found lying on the streets of Bucha, a city northwest of Kyiv. Reuters and Ukrainian news agency UNIAN published photos of bodies in civilian clothing, some of which had their arms tied behind their backs. Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak posted a similar photo on his Twitter account. According to Podolyak, the people in the photo were shot by Russian soldiers.
AFP correspondents reported seeing no less than 20 bodies on one street. The cause of the deaths was unclear, the journalists said, though at least one of the dead had a serious head wound. The bodies reportedly appeared to have been lying there for several days.
According to AFP, 16 bodies were lying on the sidewalk or near the curb, while three others were in the middle of the road, and one was in the courtyard of an apartment building. An open Ukrainian passport was lying next to one of the victims, whose arms were tied with white fabric. According to one Bucha resident who spoke to Reuters, Russian soldiers ordered residents to wear white bands on their sleeves. Bicycles were lying next to several of the other bodies.
Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told AFP that the city’s ruins were “strewn with corpses”; according to him, the victims were shot in the back of the head. He also reported that the Ukrainian authorities had buried 280 people in mass graves in Bucha after reclaiming the territory from Russian occupation. In an interview with Reuters, Fedoruk estimates that more than 300 people had been killed. He also said it will be “three or four days” before people’s remains will be collected due to ongoing demining operations in the city.
The Ukrainian media also published photos of dead civilians that were reportedly taken in Motyzhin, in Kyiv’s Buchansky district. One of the images shows bodies that were found in mass graves, according to UNIAN.
The bodies in the photo include the family of Motyzhyn mayor Olga Sukhenko, according to Ukrainian journalist Kateryna Malofieieva. This was confirmed by Vadim Tokar, though he didn’t specify where the bodies were found.
The Sukhenko family — Olga; her husband, Igor; and their son, Alexander — were reportedly kidnapped by Russian troops in late March. On April 2, Alexander’s girlfriend reported that he and his parents had been found dead.
Another photo that reportedly shows the bodies of four or five naked women found on the side of a highway near Kyiv was published by Ukrainian photographer Mikhail Palinchak. The photo was later shared by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. According to Palinchak, the shot was taken about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Kyiv, and someone had tried to burn the bodies.
The local authorities first reported that Russian forces had entered Bucha on February 25, the second day of the war. On March 31, Mayor Fedoruk announced that the city had been liberated. Photos of the city published by foreign news agencies show destroyed buildings, broken military equipment, and smashed civilian vehicles.
On April 2, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported that there were no longer any Russian forces in the Kyiv region, and that the Ukrainian military had regained control of the cities Irpin, Bucha, and Hostomel.
According to Human Rights Watch, the organization has collected evidence of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers in the Kyiv region, including at least one extrajudicial execution in Bucha.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called the images from Bucha “atrocities.” “Reports of Russian forces targeting innocent civilians are abhorrent. The UK is working with others to collect evidence and support the International Criminal Court’s war crimes investigation. Those responsible will be held to account,” she wrote on Twitter.
Neither the Kremlin nor the Russian Defense Ministry have commented on the situation.