“War crimes” in Boutcha: what we know
Ukraine and Western countries accuse Russia “Massacre” and from “war crimes” since the discovery of hundreds of bodies in multiple locations in the Russian-held Kyiv region in March. Here’s what we know about those events.
- Devastated family suburb
Before the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, Boutcha was a family suburb of about 37,000 people, 30 kilometers north-west of Kyiv and surrounded by pine forests. The Russian army entered the country on February 27 but only really took control on March 5, according to the NGO Human Rights Watch, which investigated at the scene. Up to this date, the Ukrainian authorities carried out several civilian evacuation operations, but after that approximately 4,000 residents remained trapped. The press will be banned from entering Boutcha from March 13th. After the withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kyiv region on March 31, Butcha Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk announced on March 1and April, the “Liberation of the City”.
- First macabre discoveries
Journalists succeed in moving into Boutcha on 1ah April. Crossing the devastated city, they discover the bodies of twenty men, civilians, scattered for several hundred meters on Yablounska Street, one of the longest in the city. Ivana Franka Street was also the scene of a massacre that lasted several weeks, it is reported The world.
During the Russian occupation, two large mass graves were dug to temporarily bury the bodies, with the city’s three cemeteries that were within range of Russian fire being inaccessible. After the Russian troops left, about 400 bodies were found in these graves or private gardens, or sometimes lying unburied, according to local police chief Vitaly Lobass. More than 1,000 civilian bodies were found across the region, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanschyna.
On April 4, two days after the media published the pictures taken on Yablounska Street, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Boutcha. “These are war crimes and they will be recognized by the world as genocide”, he says. On April 13, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), British Karim Khan, visited Ukraine as a ” Crime scene ” and announces that a forensic team will be working in Boutcha. On April 25, he announced that his investigators had joined the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) into crimes committed in Ukraine, formed in March by Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine with the support of Eurojust, the European Union’s judicial agency cooperation in criminal matters
Also on April 21, the NGO Human Rights Watch, whose team investigated Boutcha from April 4 to 10, said they had found it “Substantiated Evidence of Summary Executions, Murders, Disappearances and Torture”what would represent “War crimes and potential crimes against humanity. » For its part, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on April 22 that its investigators, during a mission to Boutcha on April 9 “documented the killing, including by summary execution, of about 50 civilians at the scene”. France has also sent gendarmes and judges to Boutcha.
A few hours after the photos were published, the bodies were reportedly discovered by the Russian army on Jablounska Street “fakes” which she says proves staging, specifically claiming that a corpse was waving its hand on widely circulated video, or that another person was seen in a car’s rearview mirror getting up. Vladimir Putin summons a “crude and cynical provocation” from Kyiv. Russian diplomacy spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claims Kyiv either executed civilians at Boutcha or transported corpses for staging. However, satellite images from the American company Maxar Technologies, coupled with the analysis of photos taken by AFP, contradict this version and show that several bodies have been lying there for at least three weeks. CNN reported this week that it has found and authenticated two new videos of Boutcha shot by a drone on March 12 and 13, showing military vehicles and Russian forces on Jablounska Street, not far from the bodies.
Despite Russian denials, Kyiv and its western allies claim they have “Proof” that Russian forces are responsible for most of the civilian deaths in Boutcha. Kyiv accused the 64and Russian Motorized Rifle Brigade for involvement in the abuse. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine announced on April 28 that ten Russian soldiers from this brigade had been charged “cruel treatment” and death threats against Boutcha civilians and stated that the investigation would continue to determine their possible involvement in Boutcha “premeditated murders”. According to radio messages from Russian soldiers intercepted by the German secret service, members of the Russian mercenary group Wagner – which was deployed in the Donbass conflict in 2014 and then in Syria and Africa – were also involved in the attacks.