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“Three Russian soldiers raped my mother and sister. The fourth made me watch.” Hundreds of cases of rape by Russian soldiers in Ukraine

Source: Buty mamoyu blog; Ukraine
“Three Russian soldiers raped my mother and sister. The fourth made me watch.” Hundreds of cases of rape by Russian soldiers in Ukraine
Article by: Orysia Hrudka
Edited by: Denys Dratsky
As of today, media and experts have reported 178 cases of rape of Ukrainian women by Russian soldiers, in addition to 15 cases of rape already reported by Euromaidan Press on 7 April. But it could be just the tip of the iceberg, and the actual number of rapes is much higher.

Rape – a “standard tactic” of the Russian military

On 12 April, President Zelenskyy said that hundreds of rapes committed by Russian soldiers have been reported. Taking into account the numbers that appeared in the media, this is by no means an exaggeration. “Psy.for.peace” psychologist Vasylysa Levchenko told CNN journalist about 50 reports of rape by Russian soldiers, while Ukraine’s Ombudsperson hotline psychologist Oleksandra Kvitko said that she alone received 70 such reports. Ukraine’s Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova regularly receives information on new cases of rape which are made public only with the consent of the victims.

On 8 April, Denisova reported about three new cases of rape by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, which include rapes of children:

A 14-year-old girl was raped by 5 Russian occupiers. She is pregnant now. Bucha.

An 11-year-old boy was raped in front of his mother, while she was tied to a chair and forced to watch. Bucha.

A 20-year-old woman was raped by three occupiers in all possible ways at once. Irpin.

I appeal to the UN Commission for Investigating Human Rights Violations during the Russian Military Invasion of Ukraine, and the expert mission set up by the OSCE participating States to take into account these facts of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.”

“A Russian officer cannot come and not kill, torture, or rape anyone… As a rule, people are raped. It’s the standard trail they leave,” said Adviser to the Head of the President’s Office Oleksiy Arestovych.

In one of the villages in the Inhulets direction of the Kherson Oblast, Russian occupiers raped both a 16-year-old pregnant girl and her 78-year-old grandmother. This was reported by Ukraine’s Commissioner Denisova on 8 April.

Russian soldiers gang rape Ukrainian women, including little girls: witnesses of rape survivors

Babel editor-in-chief Eugene Spirin spoke with a psychologist and psychiatrist Liliya Shakalova, who is treating two girls who were raped.

One of the girls is 9, the other is 11 years old. The first one was very very badly wounded. The wounds had to be stitched up. The second girl is suspected to have been impregnated (…). That girl was stitched up sooner, while her settlement was still occupied. The locals managed to find a doctor who lived there.

One of the girls was raped in Bucha near Kyiv. Her mother went out for water with other mothers and children. One or two children was left alone. The orcs broke in. They raped the girl while she was screaming, then they beat up a woman [who tried to rescue her]. When the mother of [the raped child] returned, the beaten woman made signs with her hands: ‘Quiet, be quiet, donʼt scare the child. She put her fingers at her mouth.’ The mother saw her bloodied child and wanted to scream. And the little girl said: ‘Mommy, my cookie hurts, mom, it hurts so much.’ This was a 9-year-old child.

The second girl had no father and lived together with her grandmother. She was raped in front of the woman. The grandmother started screaming, but [the Russians] hit her in the face.”

Олексій Бичков зґвалтував немовля - фото і всі подробиці про російського військового - Апостроф
Alexey Bychkov raped a baby in Ukraine. He sent the video to his fellow soldiers and was identified by the media outlet Vot Tak

In addition to the previously reported cases of child sexual abuse, came a report from a Zaporizhzhia doctor about girls from Mariupol, aged less than 10, who had been raped. Journalist Alex Zakletskyy also reported that a 10-year-old girl was raped in Bucha by Russian soldiers. Three cases of gang rape of little girls were also previously reported by other Ukrainian journalists.

President of Ukraine Zelenskyy said in his address to the Parliament of Lithuania on 12 April, that a Russian soldier raped a baby:

“It’s just scary to talk about it now. But it’s true, it happened. This person, this Russian savage Bychkov from Pskov had been identified. The paratrooper, or special forces officer, sent this video to his comrades. Video of what he did to the baby. How he tormented the baby!.. Rape of a baby…”

“No, you will watch”

There are numerous accounts of Russian soldiers committing rape in public. Psychologist Oleksandra Kvytko, who works with rape victims, told Holod

“Here is a story that struck me. They [Russian soldiers] raped the younger sister in the family. She was 19, and the elder sister was 21. The elder one ran up to the soldiers and begged on her knees to take her, not her sister. She was stopped by a Russian serviceman, who said: ‘No, you will watch. And tell everyone that it will be like this with every Nazi whore.” They [the sisters] had no access to doctors, and the younger sister was all torn up after the rape. The elder treated her wounds herself, and all the time thought: why not me? The youngest, who was raped, cannot speak yet – she constantly vomits. From a psychological point of view, she can’t endure it. I also sometimes vomit after the sessions.”

Kvytko also spoke about a similar case of a 20-year-old girl who was raped by three soldiers right on the street. The girl’s mother ran out to help, but her daughter screamed “stay home so that they don’t touch you.” In Irpin, a mother and her young daughter were raped in front of an older daughter, whom a Russian soldier forced to watch.

“We’ll rape you to the point that you would never want to have sex again”

On April 12, Commissioner Denisova said that in Bucha Russian occupiers kept about 25 girls aged 14 to 24 in a basement, and regularly tortured and sexually abused them. She said that some of the girls became pregnant.

“Russian soldiers said that they would rape them to the point where they would never want to have sex with any man again – to prevent them from having Ukrainian children,” Denisova said.

Denisova spoke about similar cases reported via calls to support hotlines:

“A 25-year-old woman called to tell us about her 16-year-old sister, who was raped in the street in front of her. She said they [the Russians] were yelling ‘This will happen to every Nazi whore’ as they raped her sister.”

Russian soldiers rape in Ukraine women
Illustration by Mari Msukanidze. Source: Mediazona

“We have a joint anonymous report by [more than seven] raped women from age 14, some of whom are now pregnant,”– wrote a psychotherapist from Kyiv Vasylyna Levchenko on April 5. Some of them have become completely numb. The Head of La-Strada Ukraine said that as of 12 April, they had received reports about 12 women and children raped by Russian soldiers.

As a Ukrainian MP, Head of Holos Party Kira Rudyk reported citing the press conference for international journalists by the Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights, Russian soldiers had been raping a 15-year-old for 31 days, “promising to marry her and take her to Russia.” Another case of rape was reported by Denisova on 10 April:

“In Irpin, a 20-year-old pregnant woman was raped by two ruscists [Russians]. She lost a child.”

Commissioner Denisova told Radio Svoboda that as of 11 April, 12 women allowed her to report that they have become pregnant due to rape by the Russian occupiers.

“This was the intentional group decision: Russian soldiers planned their gang rape”

A clinical psychologist from Kyiv Kateryna Haliant works with three girls – they are 16, 17, and 20 years old; two are from Irpin and one is from Bucha. They all told her about the same tactics employed by the Russian troops.

At the beginning of the occupation, the Russian soldiers went from house to house and wrote down who lived there and took away mobile phones. Then they began to loot. And about a week and a half before they retreated from Kyiv [that is, at the end of March – Ed.], “atrocities began.” They took all the men. As it became known after Kyiv Oblast has been liberated, several hundred civilians were shot, and many were tortured.

Corpses of male residents of the town tortured and executed by the Russian troops in the basement of a house. Bucha, Ukraine. Photo: Dattalion
Corpses of male civilians tortured and executed by the Russian troops in the basement of a house. Bucha, Ukraine. Photo: Dattalion

Then Russian soldiers went to every house in groups of three to five. Most soldiers were up to thirty years old, but someone older, aged 45 or 50, was always with them. “Like their fathers,”–Haliant sadly commented. She said that “the main conclusion is that this was their deliberate group intention. They [Russian soldiers] arranged this. ”

Two girls said that they were raped by Russian soldiers who were between the age of 18 and 20 [other psychologists also say that rape survivors report that the soldiers who raped them were up to 25 years old – Ed.]. They drank alcohol, made girls cook them some food, and then gang-raped them.

“One girl had her teeth knocked out. She was screaming and tried to either scratch their faces or do something. A 16-year-old girl against five men.”

Haliant spoke about another girl, who lost consciousness during the rape. All three girls managed to escape from the house when the rapists fell asleep. “My biggest concern is that none of these girls have yet seen a gynecologist,”–Haliant said.

“The girls say that when they went to shower afterwards, they wanted to completely get rid of their skin. So that their bodies would not exist.”–Haliant said.

While the victims are devastated and broken by the trauma, and some of them have committed suicide, intercepted phone calls of the Russian soldiers reveal that they boasted about committing rapes and encouraged their comrades to rape as well. Even more shocking is an intercepted call where a Russian wife suggests her husband to rape Ukrainian “babas” [contemptuous form of the word “women”– Ed.]

The authenticity of the call has been confirmed by the Skhemy journalistic investigation. The identities of both were verified by matching their voices on the call to those obtained by calling on their phone numbers. The couple is Olga Bykovskaya, who deleted her Vkontakte page after being contacted by the Skhemy journalists, and her husband Roman Bykovsky.

Olga Bykovskaya and Russian soldier Roman Bykovsky were discussing the rape of Ukrainian women on a phone call.

In another intercepted phone call a Russian tells a woman (possibly, his wife) that three soldiers from his tank crew raped a 16-year-old girl.

A woman who fled from a village in Kyiv Oblast told journalist Alex Zakletskyy of how the Russians behaved in her village:

“They [Russian soldiers] were just destroying houses for fun, everything that our people had been building for years. They were coming to houses and doing whatever they wanted. Two 16-year-old girls were raped by Russian soldiers for nothing. Rape is normal for them! How will our girls live afterward? Tell me, how? I will survive, we will survive. We are strong. But there is no forgiveness for this. Never.”

Svitlana (not her real name) from Kyiv Oblast told Radio Liberty that she was raped by a Russian soldier, who said that his name was Danylo.

“I’m still being broken, I can’t come to my senses. I’m asking for strong sedatives, I’m having nightmares that they are coming for me again.”

Clinical psychologist Kateryna Haliant cites Israeli colleagues her organization consulted with:

“It is impossible to get rid of this trauma, you just have to learn to live with it. Because, afterwards, maybe a year later, if the person was treated by a psychologist and learned to live with it, the feeling that the culprit should be punished will dominate. And then it can even become the meaning of life. To punish the offender is to protect oneself: ‘I couldn’t do it then, but now I can’.”

A woman who was raped in Kherson says that she wanted Ukrainian soldiers to take revenge on the Russian soldiers who raped her. She told Current Time about another case of the Russian war crimes in Kherson:

“Without a word, they pushed me onto the bed, crushed me with an assault rifleand stripped me off. They hardly spoke, except sometimes called me ‘Banderovka’ or said to each other ‘your turn’. And then, around four o’clock, they left because it was time to go to take their turn guarding their camp.”

Raped and murdered

A girl who managed to flee Mariupol told a blogger from Kharkiv Vira Khvust, who publishes interviews with people from all over Ukraine, that her classmate was raped and killed by the Russian occupiers. The girl also said that she and her family hid in a basement, and were forced to drink urine to survive.

Psychologist Oleksandra Kvitko reported on another case from Irpin, Kyiv Oblast. The story was told by a girl whom Kvytko is treating now:

“My mother and younger sister were raped in front of my eyes. She [my sister] was only 15. Three [Russian soldiers] did it, one after another. The fourth held me to watch. They raped and beat them. They [my mother and sister] died before my eyes! Then they [Russian soldiers] left. I lived in a house with the bodies of my mother and sister for four days! How could I survive this?!?!?! “

23-year old Karyna Yershova was tortured, raped and murdered by Russian troops in Bucha. Source: Bucha City Council <a href="">page</a>
Karyna Yershova was tortured, raped and murdered by Russian troops in Bucha. Source: Bucha City Council page

The tortured body of 23-year-old Karyna Yershova was identified in Bucha. Her hands were burned to the bone, and most of the fingernails were missing. The girl’s stepfather said she was trying to fight the soldiers back. A tourniquet was also applied to the girl’s leg, presumably to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound.

Andriy Dereko said his stepdaughter was also sexually abused by Russian soldiers. “The [police] investigator hinted” to the family that she had been raped, he said.

Villagers in Kyiv Oblast told BBC reporters about the rape and murder of their fellow villager, who was in her 40s. The neighbor of the killed woman said she heard from Russian soldiers that the woman’s “throat was either slit or stabbed, and she bled to death.”

According to the neighbors, these soldiers were the same men who raped a 50-year-old Anna (not her real name). She said that on 7 March Russian soldier barged into her house:

“At gunpoint, he took me to a house nearby. He ordered: ‘Take your clothes off or I’ll shoot you.’ He kept threatening to kill me if I didn’t do as he said. Then he began raping me.”

After Anna went back home, she found her husband shot in the abdomen by Russian soldiers.

The actual number of rape victims could be in the thousands

As long as the war continues and some territories of Ukraine remain occupied, it is impossible to figure out exactly how many people have been raped, told Radio Liberty Oksana Pokalchuk, director of Amnesty International Ukraine. Many cases are not reported by the victims themselves because of fear, pain, despair, suicidal thoughts, and other reasons.

“There is a woman who says that she does not want us to pass on the information [about her case] to anyone, because she is afraid that she will be found and killed. That’s what she told us, ” says Maryna Lehenka, Vice President of La Strada.

Protest against rape by Russian soldiers in front of the Russian embassy in Tallinn, Estonia. Photo: Rubryka
Protest against rape by Russian soldiers in front of the Russian embassy in Tallinn, Estonia. Photo: Rubryka

In a comment to Radio Svoboda, psychologist Vasilisa Levchenko said that many rapes had been reported not by victims, but by their relatives or acquaintances. “It’s not that women don’t want to talk about it – they can’t. The shock and trauma do not allow them to accurately recollect the events. Such a person often cannot report what exactly happened.” That is why, she says, the actual number of rape victims should certainly be much higher.

Oksana Huz, a lawyer at YurFem Lawyers Association told journalist Oleksandra Ochman that she thinks that 50% of women and girls who remained in Kyiv Oblast under Russian occupation were raped.

Taking into account that Russian forces didn’t control for a prolonged time any big cities except for Kherson, Kyiv suburbs, and Trostianets, and part of the population has left in the first days of the invasion, it is estimated that up to 150,000 women stayed on the territories under the occupation. It is also known that no cases of rape have been reported from some places so far, while in others it was a systematic practice en masse. Even in these territories, at least part of the women could also escape. That is, one can assume that the number of rape victims should be in a range somewhere from one thousand to dozens of thousands.

Edited by: Denys Dratsky
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