logo_headerSaturday, July 2, 2022

Hundreds of murdered civilians discovered as Russians withdraw from towns near Kyiv (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

April 3, 2022 2:21 amby Olga Rudenko
Share:
Dead bodies lie on a street in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, on April 2, 2022, as Ukraine says Russian forces are making a "rapid retreat" from northern areas around Kyiv and the city of Chernihiv. The bodies of at least 20 men in civilian clothes were found lying in a single street after Ukrainian forces retook the town of Bucha. (AFP via Getty Images)

As towns of Bucha and Irpin were retaken from withdrawing Russian forces, horrific photos and videos began to flow in.

Ruined houses, burned-down cars, and bodies of civilians scattered around the streets.

Dead bodies seen scattered on the ground in Bucha on April 2, 2022, after the Russian forces were forced to leave the city under their control for weeks. Many of the bodies found in Bucha have their hands tied behind their back, pointing at an organized killing. (Mikhailo Shevchenko/ Facebook)

The photos appear to prove that the Russian forces carried out targeted, organized killings of civilians in Bucha, particularly of men: They are often found shot dead, with their hands tied behind their backs.

A dead body lies on the ground in a street in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, on April 2, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

Before the war, Irpin and Bucha were quiet satellite towns of Kyiv, home to 60,000 and 28,000 people, respectively.

During the Russian invasion that started on Feb. 24, the two towns became the site of fierce fighting, as Russians were trying to approach Kyiv from the northwest. Bucha spent weeks under Russian military control, while Irpin was partly controlled by Russians.

A dead body lies on the ground in a street in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, on April 2, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

During this time, there were multiple reports of Russians killing civilians, including reports that adult men were singled out and murdered in Bucha. The photos appear to prove that.

Irpin was retaken from the Russians on March 28, and Bucha on April 1. A day later, the Ukrainian government said that the entire Kyiv Oblast was free of Russian forces.

According to the photographer Mikhail Palinchak, who took the photo on April 2, under the blanket are the bodies of one man and two or three naked women that Russians attempted to burn down at the side of the road 20 kilometers away from Kyiv. (Mikhail Palinchak)

According to the mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk, just in the first day after Bucha was liberated, local authorities collected 280 bodies and buried them in mass graves.

It's far from the final death toll in Bucha. On March 12, it was reported that the citizens of Bucha buried 57 bodies in another mass grave, near a local church.

Employees examine a killed animal at the Yasnohorodka Ostrich Farm and Family Ecopark in Yasnohorodka village, some 40 kilometers from Kyiv on March 2, 2022. At least 130 ostriches of 250, as well as other animals, were killed by Russian shelling. (AFP via Getty Images)

Civilians were being murdered in Irpin, too. One photo that circulated earlier showed an improvized grave of a mother and her son, who were shot by Russians as they were trying to flee the city. Neighbors buried them in their apartment building's courtyard.

Local residents clean up rubble in front of their damaged house in Dmytrivka village, west of Kyiv. (AFP via Getty Images)

Leaving, the Russian military left mines and other explosives in Irpin and Bucha. On April 2 only, the Ukrainian forces found and deactivated 643 explosives in Irpin, according to the State Emergency Service.

A man walks on a street with several dead bodies on the ground in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, on April 2, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

Despite the Russian authorities claiming that their forces are not targeting civilians in Ukraine, there is clear evidence of the opposite. Russian forces have repeatedly attacked densely populated residential areas of Ukraine's cities with missiles, air bombs, and artillery.

Ruined buildings in Irpin, a satellite town north-west of Kyiv, on April 1, 2022. Ukrainian forces regained control of Irpin on March 28. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In Kyiv Oblast Russian forces have been shooting at evacuating civilians. In Mariupol, which has been under siege since early March with little to no connection to the outside world, several thousands of civilians are estimated to have been killed by shelling and air strikes.

Olga Rudenko
Author: Olga Rudenko

Olga Rudenko is the chief editor of the Kyiv Independent, an award-winning media start-up launched in November 2021 by the former editorial team of the Kyiv Post. Olga is the former deputy chief editor of the Kyiv Post. She has written for global publications, and was a fellow at the Chicago Booth School of Business in 2021.