Killed for a missed cigarette, for giving food or for a question


A father was finished because he had no cigarettes to offer to the occupants. To eliminate Valeryi and his wife Nataliya, it took seven hits: six for him, one for her. They had gone to the street to see. They never returned to the basement where their 18-year-old daughter was waiting for them. In Hostomel, the mayor was hit by snipers for distributing food and medicine in underground shelters.

As Russian occupation forces retreat, evidence of brutal war crimes may be gathered. “In recent weeks, we have gathered evidence that Russian forces have committed extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, which must be investigated as probable war crimes,” he said. declared. Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “Testimonies show that unarmed civilians in Ukraine are being killed in their homes and on the streets in acts of indescribable cruelty and shocking brutality”.

“My dad had six big holes in his back.” 18-year-old Kateryna Tkachova spoke about it. On March 3, he was at home in the village of Vorzel with his parents, when several tanks marked with the letter “Z” filled the streets. Her parents, Nataliya and Valeryi, left the cellar where they were hiding to go to the street. But first they told Katerina not to move. From below, he heard gunshots. “Once the tanks passed, I jumped over the fence of the neighbour’s house. I wanted to check if they were alive. I looked over the fence and saw my mother lying on her back on one side of the road, and my father face down on the other. I saw big holes in his coat.’ The armed occupation prevented him from approaching. “The day I returned: my father had six big holes in his back, my mother had a smaller hole in her chest.” The intentional killing of unarmed civilians “is a violation of human rights and a war crime. These deaths – insists Amnesty – must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible must be prosecuted, including the chain of command”.

The geography of crimes follows the path of the initial Russian advance backwards. Evidence of indiscriminate killings was also obtained in Kharkiv and Sumy Oblast (region). Among other things, an airstrike has been documented that killed people queuing for food in Chernihiv, while reports of massacres in Izyum and Mariupol are mounting.

“My husband didn’t die right away. From 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., he was still breathing, although he was unconscious. I begged, “If you can hear me, please move your finger.” He didn’t move it, but I put his hand on my knee and squeezed it. Blood flowed. When he took his last breath, I turned to my daughter and said, “It looks like dad is dead. Killed for refusing a pack of cigarettes he didn’t have. His wife, 46, said Russian forces besieged the village of Bohdanivka from the night of March 7-8. The next day, the family – husband, wife, mother-in-law and 10-year-old daughter – heard gunshots from downstairs windows. She and her husband shouted in Russian: “We are civilians, we are not armed”. At that time, two soldiers locked everyone down in the boiler room: “They forced us in and slammed the door. After barely a minute they opened the door again – the woman told Amnesty International – and asked my husband if he had any cigarettes. He said no, he hadn’t smoked for a few weeks. That wasn’t the answer the soldier wanted to hear. They first shot him in the right arm. Then the other soldier ordered, “Finish him.” And they shot him in the head. That night, a neighbor witnessed the raid and confirmed seeing the man’s body slumped in a corner of the boiler room. The woman and the 10-year-old boy fled the village the same day.

During the early days of the Russian occupation of Hostomel, devastated by its proximity to kyiv’s military airport, Taras Kuzmak delivered food and medicine by car to air-raid shelters where civilians were hiding. They targeted them for it. At 1:30 p.m. on March 3, Taras was with Mayor Yuryi Prylypko and two other men when their car was hit by accurately fired gunfire. of a large residential complex that had been seized by Russian forces. They tried to jump out of the car, but one of them, Ivan Zorya, was killed instantly, while Mayor Yuryi Prylypko fell to the ground injured. Taras Kuzmak and the other survivor hid behind an excavator for hours as sniper fire continued. “They noticed us and immediately opened fire, there was no warning,” Tara said. “I could only hear Mayor Prylypko. I knew he was hurt, but I couldn’t see it and I didn’t know if the blow would be fatal or not. I just told him to stay still, not to move. They squatted for almost two hours. Around 3 p.m. they fired again in their direction “and about half an hour later I realized the mayor was dead”. Ivan Zorya’s head was blown off by bullets, “I think they were using something high caliber.”

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