KYIV – Ukrainian authorities have released the names and photos of 10 Russian soldiers accused of kidnapping and torturing unarmed civilians in the city of Bucha, the most detailed indictment so far against Russian forces in Ukraine.
Bucha, a suburb north of Kiev, was the site of some of the worst atrocities of the war so far. The bodies of hundreds of civilians were found there after Russian troops withdrew from the area in late March. Many victims had been shot in the back of the head and others had been executed with their hands tied behind their backs. Ukrainian officials said women had been raped and children killed.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General said in a statement on Thursday that the 10 named Russian soldiers took civilians hostage, “killed them with hunger and thirst, kept them on their knees with their hands tied and their eyes taped” and “humiliated and beat” them. The statement, which was posted on social media, contained photos of the identified soldiers.
“We know all the details about them and their actions,” President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said in a speech at night. “And we will find everyone, just as we will find all the other Russian thugs who killed and tortured Ukrainians who tortured our people, who destroyed houses and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.”
Russian officials have denied that their troops committed any crimes in Bucha, calling the photos and testimonies false. But dozens of witnesses, along with independent human rights investigators, have said the Russian occupying forces did just that.
In a recent report by Human Rights Watch, the advocacy group said that “Russian forces committed a litany of apparent war crimes during their occupation of Bucha”, and there was “extensive evidence of summary executions, other illegal killings, forced disappearances and torture, all of which would constitute war crimes and potential crimes against humanity. “
The Ukrainian authorities identified Russia’s 64th separate motorized infantry brigade as the unit responsible for some of these atrocities, saying their involvement had been “established through investigation and coordinated work by prosecutors and police officers.” The soldiers were all young and lower ranked and included four privates, four corporals and two sergeants, Ukrainian officials said.
This case is the fruit of a comprehensive investigation that is likely to produce more detailed allegations in the coming days. In the past month, hundreds of Ukrainian lawyers and police officers have combed Bucha’s ruined streets, interviewed witnesses and collected forensic evidence from corpses and crime scenes.
They have also collected photos of Russian soldiers from social media, closed-circuit cameras and other sources to determine which Russian troops were where, and put it in line with when atrocities were committed.
“Ukraine’s position is quite clear,” he said. Zelensky. “Every Russian criminal must and will be brought to justice. Whoever they are and wherever they hide, we will find them all and make them responsible. ”
Oleksandr Chubko contributed with reporting.