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DPA: German investigators identify Russian soldiers responsible for attacking civilians in Hostomel in 2022

On the streets in Bucha, 2022. Photo: Vadim Ghirda
DPA: German investigators identify Russian soldiers responsible for attacking civilians in Hostomel in 2022

German investigators have identified Russian soldiers responsible for attacking the city of Hostomel during Russia’s invasion of Kyiv Oblast, German Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann stated, as per DPA.

On 24 February 2022, hours after Russia launched its invasion, 18 Russian IL-76 military transport planes loaded with elite airborne troops took off from Pskov heading for Hostomel airport. 

Their goal was reportedly to quickly capture Kyiv. Due to Ukrainian artillery bombardments that prevented the Russian planes from landing, the airborne assault failed.

However, the world’s largest plane An-225 Mriya was destroyed in Russian attacks. The owner of the plane – the Antonov Company was then accused of “obstructing the legal activities” of the Ukrainian Army and failing to prepare Hostomel airport for defense in January-February 2022. 

The investigation by Germany was initiated in mid-July. It focuses on the deliberate shelling of civilians who attempted to escape the Hostomel by Russian soldiers. As a result of the attacks, a large number of civilians were injured and killed, including a German citizen. The investigators have identified individuals responsible for the attacks.

Buschmann has said that if the criminals are arrested, they will receive charges, and evidence will be provided to Ukraine or any cooperating country for successful prosecution.

The German authorities have reached out to witnesses, including those who are currently staying in Germany, to urge them to share their experiences with the police. Additionally, special personnel have been involved in communicating with traumatized individuals.

Before this specific investigation, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office had initiated an investigation into potential war crimes during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022.

Earlier, United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk said there were indications that Russian forces committed significant war crimes in Ukraine, according to Sky News.

He stated that the violations his office knows about include 142 instances of civilians being summarily executed, along with cases of enforced disappearances, torture, and ill-treatment of detainees, including incidents of sexual violence.

In August 2023, the National Police of Ukraine said it had received 93,000 calls from victims of sexual abuse committed by Russian troops since February 2022, according toSerhii Nizhynskyi, the adviser of Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna.

According to the official, police have submitted only part of reports on Russian crimes for court consideration, as per Ukrainska Pravda.

Previously, the police said it had recorded the highest number of sexual crimes by Russian occupiers in liberated Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv oblasts.

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