Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

The horrors of Putin's invasion of Ukraine are increasingly coming to light

As Russian forces retreat from the area around Kyiv, the horrors of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine are increasingly coming to light. The death and destruction brought by Russia's war machine are on full display in Bucha, once an up-and-coming area on Kyiv's outskirts for young couples looking for relatively new housing developments, large lawns and good schools.
Survivor of alleged Russian atrocities recounts his ordeal as analysts say development marks wake-up call for Western powers.

“They were shelling all the time, around the clock, and all the shells flew over my house,” Oleh Matsenko, who survived 33 days of Russian attacks in Bucha, a once-tranquil town northwest of Kyiv, told Al Jazeera.

Speaking four days after Russian troops retreated, he said he was particularly frightened when a column of dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles slowly drove by – surrounded by infantrymen peeking into the doors and windows of the houses on his street.

“The column was so big that it took them about two hours to drive past my house,” he said.

Going out for food was a gamble, he said.

Some of his neighbours left their dark, cold houses that had no electricity, running water or natural gas supply to get bread or charge their mobile phones – but never came back.

One day, he went to a market that survived the shelling to get food for himself and several friends and neighbours who flocked to his house, which was warmed by a wooden stove.

And he saw bodies – mostly civilians shot dead by Russian troops.

“I saw it all, the piles of corpses in the streets, all dead. I saw it all, they are still lying there, not everyone was collected,” Matsenko said.

His story confirms the scope of the mass killings of civilians that became evident – and visible – only after Ukrainian forces and journalists entered Bucha on March 31.

Russians sprayed bullets in all directions, firing at any movement in a street or a window, at anything warm they saw in their heat visors, said survivors, officials and the military.

They shot anyone who resisted their presence, interrogations and looting – or simply looked suspicious, they said.

Decomposing under the warming sun, the bodies of men, women and children were seen lying in the streets, sitting in the bullet-ridden, fire-damaged cars in which they tried to flee, according to photos, media reports and officials.

Several bodies were found inside apartments and houses with gaping holes made by shells and explosions. Some had their hands tied, some had traces of torture. Others were found in mass graves, barely covered with soil and garbage.

Bucha’s mayor reportedly said that hundreds of bodies have been found – and the count appears far from over.

“In Bucha, we have already buried 280 people in mass graves,” Anatoly Fedoruk told the AFP news agency on Saturday.

The bodies of 410 civilians were removed from Bucha, the neighbouring towns of Hostomel and Irpin and smaller villages around Kyiv, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova said on Sunday, April 3.

Russia rejected the findings and evidence.

The Russian Defence Ministry called them “another production of the Kyiv regime for the Western media”.

The ministry claimed on Sunday that all Bucha residents “had the opportunity to freely leave”, and claimed that the southern suburbs “were fired at around the clock by Ukrainian troops”.

Ukrainian intelligence claimed on Monday to have retrieved the names of all Russian servicemen from the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade, which seized Bucha and carried out the ostensible murders.

“Every Ukrainian should know their names!” the Main Department of Reconnaissance said on Monday.

Observers already compare the mass murders to the horrors of World War II – or the Yugoslavian wars of the early 1990s.

The only difference was that the Russians never collected the bodies of their own soldiers.

“The specifically Russian thing is that after a month of being in Hostomel, the Russian army never cared to send home or at least bury the bodies of Russian special forces who died in the first wave of landings,” Nikolay Mitrokhin, a Russia researcher with Germany’s Bremen University, told Al Jazeera.

The reported killings in Bucha and neighbouring suburbs have been compared to the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Bosniak Muslims by ethnic Serbian militants in the town of Srebrenica.

“The analogy is not coincidental,” Kyiv-based analyst Aleksey Kushch told Al Jazeera.

Duped by the Kremlin’s announcements that said Ukraine needed to be “liberated” from neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists, Russian troops found themselves among a “stormy sea” of hostile civilians, he said.

They resorted to killing adult males and raping women as the only way to “suppress resistance and achieve a collective nervous breakdown”, he said.

“[It was] physical and psychological destruction of a will to resist,” Kushch said.

To many in the West, the Bucha killings became a wake-up call, the first chance to see the scope of mass killings of civilians that amount to war crimes – or even genocide.

“The world cannot be tricked anymore; the spotlight is on Putin and his forces,” Ivar Dale, a senior policy adviser with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, a human rights watchdog, told Al Jazeera.

He said he visited Bucha while living in Ukraine – and sees that “the level of evil is nearly incomprehensible”.

“We demand a thorough, international investigation and we demand justice for the victims of these war crimes,” he said.

Five days after its liberation, Bucha is still not safe – and has no power, water or gas supply.

“Just now, less than half an hour ago, there was a shake so strong that my house jumped up. But where it blew up – I don’t know, maybe, a [cruise] missile flew in,” Matsenko said on Monday.

“Something blew up, strongly, but just once.”


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has blamed Russia for the killings and called on Moscow to put an end to the "war crimes."

"For these murders, for these tortures, for these arms torn off by explosions that lie on the streets. For shots in the back of the head of tied people. This is how the Russian state will now be perceived. This is your image," Zelensky said in a Sunday video address.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
BVI Freedom Song
What is ChatGPT?
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Hello Dolly
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
China's first population drop in six decades
Yes He Can
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Unforgettable
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
The Lord's Prayer
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
Siyahamba
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Ramblin' Rose
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
Common, John Legend - Glory
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
×