It is reported that the Russian Army is withdrawing across the northern frontier of Ukraine. The official Russian explanation for the retreat is that it is a “Five Dimensional Chess move” by Grandmaster Vlad and this was part of the strategy throughout. The more rational explanation is that the troops that struck on February 24 were severely degraded and are being brought back across the border between Belarus and Russia to reconfigure and rearm and replace the casualties.
As Ukrainian troops move forward and advance, they are starting to discover proof of war crimes perpetrated by Russian soldiers in the direction of Ukrainian civilians. A town that's been particularly badly affected is Bucha, located in western suburbs of Kiev. Bucha was taken over by the Russians on the 27th of February, but was finally restored in Ukrainian command on Friday. It was clear that what the Russians did was ugly. Civilian structures like confectioner's shops were booby-trapped. This isn't extremely professional or even legal, however, this is the manner of operation that was carried out by those in the Russian Army and that is being debated. They left behind roads filled with bodies of dead civilians, and at the very least, unmarked graves.
The motivation behind what caused these Ukrainian civilians to be killed in the street is unclear. They could be incidental damage, or even fighters. The most difficult thing to explain is dead bodies who have their hands tied to their bodies.
Social media users shared a video on Saturday, and has been confirmed via The Washington Post, that showed a number of people, including a child, lying on the streets of a residential zone within the city of Bucha, north of Kyiv, following the withdrawal of Russian forces. They are believed to be dead.
One, still on an old bicycle, stands at the corner of an intersection. He's tilted to the point that he was about to take the turn to the right. There are others huddled at one side.
While the driver weaves through bodies, burned-out vehicles and fallen trees, the driver's narrator explains “If you claim ‘that’ Russian soldiers are human beings …” and adds “simply for a general understanding of what transpired in this scene.”
Bucha's Mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, confirmed to The Washington Post by phone that about 270 people living in the area were laid to rest at two burial sites. The mayor also stated that around 40 bodies lay in the streets, but it was difficult to determine an accurate count. Some of the bodies were bound with their hands tied or were shot in the back of the head.
Fedoruk stated that the bodies will remain untouched until security officials verify that they're not in fact rigged with explosive devices.
“Until the special services give us an answer to the question of whether we can safely bury them according to Christian custom, we can't handle the bodies,” the man said.
A brief reminder here. According to some media outlets, the bodies of 270 (or 300) civilians were found in a mass grave.
I'm not convinced that this is correct since the Russians don't seem to care about burying the dead of their own. I believe that the mayor's comment regarding burying citizens of the town in the mass grave has been mistakenly interpreted as something totally different. However, there are ominous indications of summary executions that have been discovered throughout some of the Kiev areas of Irpin, as well as Motyzhyn.
As the number of refugees increases with each passing day, there are new stories coming out about the regular rape of Ukrainian women by Russian invaders.
“I shot your husband because he was a Nazi,” the gunman said to her. He then, as well as another soldier raped her, as her 4-year-old son was crying in the boiler room right next door, as was reported in the Times. She claimed she was assaulted a second time by the soldiers. She fled into western Ukraine along with her child.
Reports of sexual assault began to surface within a matter of minutes following Russia’s attack of Ukraine, according to Kateryna Busol, an associate at Chatham House and a Ukrainian lawyer who has documented claims of sexual assault following the annexation and seizure of Crimea in 2014.
“These accounts are growing, and we are hearing that they are much more widespread than the one account raised by the inspector general,” Ms. Busol said in a telephone interview from Regensburg, Germany, where she fled Kyiv following the attack.
If you have any knowledge of the history of the Red Army in Poland, and what would later become the Eastern region in Germany in World War II, this will not be a shock. It is typical Russian behaviour. It also took place in Chechnya. Vladimir Putin's efforts to stir the nation's anger through denigration of Ukrainians in the name of “nazis” and the perpetrators of “genocide” in Donbas, undoubtedly played a role in what is believed to be a widespread policy that endorsed killing and looting.
After this tragic event, the international community has to investigate Russian acts in Ukraine which range from planning an unprovoked war, to killing civilians to rape and looting committed by the ranks of Russian soldiers. It is likely to be difficult to ever bring the perpetrators to justice, however, we can make a record of the nature of Putin and what his Russian soldiers have done.