Ukrainians report over 400 cases of rape and other forms of sexual abuse by Russian troops

Dead civilians are seen near a highway 20 km outside of Kyiv. Under the blanket are 4-5 dead naked women whom Russian soldiers tried to burn right there on the side of the road. Photo by Mikhail Palinchak. Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. 2 April 2022

Dead civilians are seen near a highway 20 km outside of Kyiv. Under the blanket are 4-5 dead naked women whom Russian soldiers tried to burn right there on the side of the road. Photo by Mikhail Palinchak. Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. 2 April 2022 

Opinion, Russian War Crimes

More than 400 cases of brutal sexual abuse by Russian troops have been reported to the Ukrainian authorities, Liudmyla Denisova, the plenipotentiary of the Verkhovna Rada for human rights, says. And their numbers continue to grow each day as people find the opportunity and courage to report them.

The victims include not only adult women but children, older people and men, she says, because

the Russian soldier stops at nothing. He rapes and rapes publicly in the presence of others.

Most of the rapists are aged 20 to 25 and grew up under Putin who clearly encouraged them to think that such actions are not crimes.

Among the cases Denisova mentions are those of a 14-year-old girl who was raped by five Russian soldiers and left pregnant, a 20-year-old woman who was raped by three soldiers, a 16-year-old woman who was already pregnant but lost her child as a result alongside her 78-year-old grandmother.

23-year old Karyna Yershova was tortured, raped and murdered by Russian troops in Bucha. Source: Bucha City Council page

Karyna Yershova was brutally tortured, raped and murdered by Russian troops in Bucha. Source: Bucha City Council page

Russian soldiers are also raping men, she continues, often so brutally that the victims are left for dead in the streets. The human rights official says that ever more reports are coming in as Ukrainian forces recover land that Russian troops had occupied and as the victims of this abuse find it in themselves to seek help.

Denisova also discusses other issues, including the Russian seizure and deportation to the Donbas or the Russian Federation of more than 850,000 Ukrainians. These people are taken to filtration camps, have their passports taken away from them, and then are sent on to camps where they are kept in inhuman conditions.

Russian officials confirm the number, she says; but they refuse to discuss the conditions under which Ukrainians are being processed or held. Denisova says that inmates are sometimes able to make telephone calls, and her office has been gathering their reports in order to make formal complaints to Moscow and international organizations.

Bucha execution

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

She has focused on the treatment of Ukrainian POWs and can say that there is clear evidence that Russian forces are violating the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention and are thus guilty of war crimes in this area as well as others.

Denisova’s office is also responsible for ensuring that Russian POWs in Ukraine are well treated given Moscow’s claims to the contrary. She says that all the evidence she has so far uncovered shows that they are, and she notes that 23 Russian soldiers have said they are being treated better by Ukrainian guards than they were by their Russian officers.

She also investigates reports of Ukrainian abuse of Russian troops and personnel. So far, she says, she has not been able to confirm a single claim by Moscow about such violations but will continue to monitor the situation.

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