As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, the news from the region is blood-curdling. The bodies and mass graves found in and around Kyiv, where the Russian army retreated, are endless. The stories of those fighting for survival in the region reveal the dirtiest face of the war. The 50-year-old woman, who was raped by a Chechen fighter, an ally of Russia, told about the persecution she experienced by saying, “He threatened to kill me. Then he started raping me.”
The Russians withdrew from the areas around Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. But they left behind severely scarred lives that may never recover from the trauma. The BBC found evidence of the invading soldiers raping Ukrainian women, interviewed witnesses.
“HE GAVE A GUN TO MY HEAD AND GIVEN ME AN ORDER”
The BBC reporter quoted the interview as follows: We met 50-year-old Anna in a quiet rural neighborhood 70 kilometers west of Kiev. We changed his name to protect his identity. Anna told us that when a foreign soldier suddenly entered her house on March 7, she was inside with her husband: “He put a gun to my head and took me to a nearby house. He gave me orders and said, ‘Take off your clothes or I will shoot you.’ Then he started raping me.”
“FOUR SOLDIERS ENTERED WHEN HE RAPED ME”
Anna described her attacker as a young and weak Chechen warrior, an ally of Russia: “As she raped me, four more soldiers came in. I thought they were done with me. They drove her away. I never saw her again.”
THEY SHOT HER HUSBAND
Maria believes she was rescued by Russian soldiers from another unit. Anna returned home and found her husband. His wife, however, was shot in the stomach: “He ran after me and tried to save me, but they shot him with a few bullets.”
WHILE TELLING HIS STORY, HE WAS CONTINUOUSLY CRYING
The couple took shelter in their neighbor’s house. However, Anna’s injured wife, who could not be taken to the hospital due to the conflict, died two days later. Anna cried all the time as she told us her story. She showed him the place where they had buried his wife in the courtyard of their house. Anna told us that she was in contact with the hospital and received psychological support.
“I FOUND DRUGS AND VIAGRA AT HOME”
The soldiers who saved Anna’s life stayed at her house for several days. Anna says the soldiers pointed their guns at her head and asked for her husband’s belongings: “When they left the house, I found drugs and viagra. They used drugs, they were often drunk. Most of them were murderers, rapists, looters. Few of them were decent types.”
THEY KILL THE WOMEN THEY RAPE
As we left Anna’s house and walked down the road, we heard another terrifying story. It is alleged that a woman was killed after being raped. Neighbors say that Anna’s rapist killed her before she went to her house. According to her neighbors, the woman in her 40s was taken out of her home and kept in the bedroom of a nearby house, which was evacuated when the war started.
THEY LEAVE A NOTE TO THE MIRROR WITH LIPPER
The wallpapers of the well decorated house are gaudy. The bed inside is also gold plated. But this house is now a disturbing crime scene. There are extensive traces of blood stains on the bed mattress and duvet. On the corner mirror, it was written in lipstick, “He was tortured by unknown people, he was buried by Russian soldiers”.
Oksana, a neighbor, said that the note was written by Russian soldiers who found the woman’s body and buried her: “Russian soldiers told me that the woman was raped, her throat was either slit or stabbed, and she was covered in blood.”
This woman is also buried in the garden of the house. The day after our visit, the police opened the tomb for investigation and examined the body. The body was naked, with deep and wide scars on its neck. Kyiv Police Chief Andriy Nebitov told us that they are investigating another case in a village 50 kilometers west of the capital. A couple in their 30s lived with their children in a house on the edge of the village.
“WE WERE GOING, COMING AND RAPEING”
Police Chief Nebitov told us: “Many Russian soldiers entered the house on March 9. They shot the father who wanted to protect his wife and child in the garden. Later, two soldiers raped the woman repeatedly. They were going, coming and raping. They did this three times. “They threatened to harm her son if she resisted. The woman did not resist to protect her son.”
Before the soldiers left, he burned the house and killed the family’s dog. The woman contacted the police after she fled with her son. Nebitov said they took the woman’s statement.
The cops collect evidence at the family’s home. Few traces remain of a peaceful, ordinary life. There are only ruins. We saw a kid’s bike, toy horse and leash, and a man’s fur coat and winter shoes. The body of the man of the house was buried in the garden by the neighbors. The police opened the tomb and are examining the body. They are considering taking the case to international courts.
Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) Lyudmyla Denisova said they documented many similar cases: “During the occupation, approximately 25 girls and women aged 14-24 were systematically raped in the basement of a house in Bucha. Nine of these people were pregnant. Russian soldiers told them, They said, ‘We will rape you until you do not want sexual contact with any other man. We will prevent you from having Ukrainian children.’
We asked Denisova if it was possible to ascertain the extent of sexual crimes committed by Russian soldiers during the occupation. Her response was, “This is still not possible. Because not everyone wants to tell what happened to them. Most of these women call us for psychological support. Therefore, it is not possible for us to record what was done to them as a crime unless they give a statement to us.”
Denisova said Ukraine wanted the United Nations to establish a special tribunal. Kiev’s request is for this court to try Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes, including rape.