Video evidence in the hands of The New York Times shows the involvement of Russian soldiers in executions of at least eight civilians in Butsha. The suburb of Kiev was occupied by Russian troops for almost all of March. After they left, images of the lifeless bodies of civilians on the street, some with their hands tied behind their backs, shocked the world. Russia denies responsibility for the at least 400 bodies eventually found in the place.
The American newspaper spent weeks investigating Butja and finally obtained images of the day after the town came into Russian hands. A first video — taken by a security camera on March 4 — shows two Russian soldiers driving a group of nine men, held at gunpoint, across a street at a goose step. The Ukrainian men hold one hand behind their heads, with the other clinging to the belt of the person in front of them. “Walk to the right, moron,” a soldier orders them according to The New York Times†
The second video was also made on March 4, by a witness. He filmed how the hostage men were led to a courtyard, where they were then forced to sit on the ground. Then the video stops, but eight witnesses told The New York Times that the men were then taken to an office building. Gunshots rang out from the building, which served as a temporary Russian base.
A day later, a drone flying overhead filmed the bodies of eight of the nine men on the ground near the office building. They are guarded by two Russian soldiers. The New York Times traced the ninth inmate, who survived the massacre by pretending to be dead. All the executed men have been identified by the American newspaper. They were civilians who had joined the civilian militia who had to defend Butsha.
Love letter left behind
Moscow denies that Russian soldiers have committed war crimes in Butya, such as civilian executions are typified. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov called the images of dead civilians on the street “staged and fake”. Also out Previous extensive research by Reuters news agency it turns out, however, that Russian soldiers were doing the brunt of Butcha violently. Reuters was able to identify a few soldiers who had been present in Butsha, including through a love letter left behind.
Ukrainian prosecutors are now investigating some 9,000 war crimes committed by hundreds of Russian soldiers. Ten Russian soldiers are specifically suspected of civil abuse in Butya, Ukrainian chief prosecutor Iryna Venediktova announced last month. The International Criminal Court in The Hague has also been investigating since early March whether war crimes were committed in Ukraine during the Russian invasion.
This article is also part of our live blog: EU wants to use frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine