In Russian-occupied Kherson, allegations of rape emerge 2022-04-27 21:38:00


It was mid-March and 16-year-old Dasha was about six months pregnant.

One of the soldiers, whom Dasha said was drunk, began to ask how many rooms in the house and the ages of the children.

What followed was an incident that Ukrainian prosecutors said was a war crime.

While the unrestrained violence around Kyiv exemplified the pointless brutality of the Russian offensive against civilians, dark and untold stories of their brutality slowly began to emerge in small, remote villages, like Dasha, in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region.

These stories help paint a pattern for the Russian military, marked by blistering criminal behavior and, in this case, the alleged assault of a minor at its weakest.

Dasha and her family had been sheltering in the basement of their home before the alleged rape.

Dasha said that when the two children, aged 12 and 14, saw the soldiers in their kitchen, they were frightened.

“First, he (the drunk soldier) called my mother to another room. He let her leave quickly. Then he called me,” she said.

“When I came, he first told me how he saved two people in our village – a mother of two,” she said.

But then the soldier, who later learned that Dasha was from Donetsk and was called “blue” by other soldiers, became violent.

“He started screaming, and first asked me to take my clothes off. I told him I wasn’t going to do that, and he started screaming at me. He said if he didn’t take his clothes off he would kill me,” she told CNN.

At that point, the other soldier entered the room and warned Blue that he would have trouble with the rest of the unit if he followed his apparent plan.

Dasha said that Bleu seemed unfazed by the warning, and his colleague left, telling him to return to the unit in 30 minutes.

“When I resisted, he strangled me and said he was going to kill me. Then he made an unimaginable threat,” she said to her, ‘Either you sleep with me now, or I’ll bring 20 more.’

Dasha’s story was interrupted by her crying. Her mother sat near her as she spoke, and she also looked visibly sad.

“I just remember his eyes were blue, and it was dark there, and I didn’t remember anything,” she said.

Russian forces use rape as a tool of war & # 39;  In Ukraine, rights groups claim

Dasha said that after raping her, the offender tried to attack her again several times until two Russian snipers came to the rescue, and she and her family moved to another house.

CNN has not identified victims of sexual assault and in this case refers to Dasha by a pseudonym.

There, she said, they told her they had killed Blue. Dasha later learned that this was a lie, when a Russian paratrooper commander in the next village called her to discuss her attack.

She said it wasn’t a conversation. Instead, it was a terrifying interrogation.

“He (the commander) used some kind of psychological tactic,” Dasha said.

“He started saying the same things the rapist had told me, yelling at me and (saying) he would do the same as the rapist did. I was so scared, I started crying.”

Annoyed, Dasha said that the commander then decided that she was telling the truth. It is unclear what happened to Blue.

Dasha heard other Russian soldiers say that the perpetrator had a “criminal past”. She thinks he was looking for a target.

“We were told that he was going around the village, looking for someone who could …” a girl of easy virtue,” said Dasha.

Russian troops have since left the village of Dasha, but the shock of its occupation remains.

CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.

About a week after the alleged attack, the Russians left her village.

A report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), released on April 13, found violations of international humanitarian law by Russian forces in Ukraine, noting that “reports indicate cases of conflict-related gender-based violence, such as rape. or sexual violence or sexual harassment.”

CNN cannot independently verify Dasha’s horrific account, but Ukrainian prosecutors in the Kherson region said in a statement that they investigated her version.

The prosecution said in a statement: “Thanks to the victim’s testimony and the results of a number of investigations, it was established in early March 2022, during the occupation of a village where there were no military facilities for Ukrainian soldiers, (there were) war crimes against civilians, including the rape of a minor resident of the village. “.

Prosecutors declined to provide further details, citing privacy concerns.

As some parts of the country seek to rebuild, the trauma of the Russian occupation continues to terrorize communities in the south. It shows its brutality on roads, buildings and homes. But for survivors like Dasha, the trauma of that occupation will live long beneath the surface.