Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) on Monday cracked down on the Russian soldier who shot a civilian car with a machine gun in the Bucha district of the Kyiv region in March. The Russian soldier, now under Ukraine’s detention, had buried the body of the dead Ukrainian man in the middle of the forest.
His comrades-in-arms had also shot the VAZ car with a machine gun on a highway near the village of Zdvyzhivka. The soldier, in Ukrainian captivity, now faces life imprisonment. He belongs to one of the units of the 331st Parachute Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division of the Russian Armed Forces. The SSU investigation found that the Russian soldier was also deployed during the hostilities on the territory of Syria in the year 2019.
“In September, the suspect was detained by the Ukrainian military during a combat encounter on the Kherson front,” the SSU press service said in a statement. It continued that its employees “established and proved” the detainee’s involvement in the crime. He buried the body in the forest to hide the evidence of the war crime, the SSU informed. The Russian soldiers also committed other violations such as shelling and bombing of residential buildings, robberies at houses, and murders.
“During interrogation and other investigative actions, and [they] received information about the location [where] the deceased man [was buried]. Currently, the body has been exhumed and handed over to the forensic medical examination,” the Ukraine security service SSU stated.
Back in May, Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova publicly revealed the name of the first Russian soldier to be charged for allegedly killing civilians in the town of Bucha near Kyiv during Russian forces’ weeks of occupation. The suspect was the commander of a unit of Russia’s National Guard, Sergei Kolotsei, Venediktova had stated in a Facebook post. “Prosecutors of Bucha have established that this very military serviceman killed four unarmed men in Bucha on March 18,” the Ukrainian official wrote on Facebook, also sharing the suspect’s photo.
“He also tortured another civilian on March 29, forcing him to confess to saboteur activities against Russian troops,” she said. “The man was then taken to an execution site, where he went through mock execution as a gun was shot near his ear,” the Ukrainian official noted. “Especially horrible type of humiliation and intimidation of the victim was forcing him to sniff a dead human body,” she maintained.
Hastily dug graves, stories of untold horror
As Russian troops faced accusations of war crimes and mass civilian killings after they retreated from the towns of Bucha and Irpin, Republic Media Network had accessed the sites. Republic’s team reporting LIVE from the war zone verified the images of the battered bodies strewn across the streets that Russia deflected on calling it “Ukrainian propaganda”. Republic witnessed the hastily dug graves that unfolded the story of horror and depicted the harrowing scenes of carnage left by the Russian troops in the town near Irpin and Bucha.
Dozens of bodies in black plastic bags were seen lying in a trench that the angry Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had labelled “genocide.” He had also asked the world to come and see what their [Russia’s] military had done. Bodies of the civilians with their hands tied behind their backs and beheaded, at the time, were being buried by the Ukrainian Army in mass graves. Rights groups stressed that there was extensive evidence of summary executions, other unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, all of which would constitute war crimes.
“Nearly every corner in Bucha is now a crime scene, and it felt like death was everywhere,” said Richard Weir, crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch said.
Russia had refuted what it called the “staged” killings in Bucha and “provocation” to slander the Russian Armed Forces. Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation claimed that the city’s mayor had not reported any atrocities after the Russian forces had withdrawn from the northwestern town on March 30 and that the allegations first appeared only on the fourth day. “Bodies shown seem surprisingly “fresh”, couldn’t lying for four days,” MoD Russia stated. Russian forces also claimed that the initial footage that was shared on social media by the Ukrainian forces driving into the besieged town did not demonstrate a single body on the road and that they later appeared nearly four days after the troop withdrawal.