The brutal cult of Putin’s army is accused of killing their comrades 2022-04-29 21:01:24


BUSHA, Ukraine — Ihor Yushchenko, 61, a former colonel in Ukrainian Armed Forces who was deputy chief of staff of the ground forces in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, watched in horror as a war crime outside his window in broad daylight.

According to Yushchenko, a column of Russian troops advancing through the town stopped and opened fire on his downtown street Bucha On February 27, killing two passers-by. This column has included Chechen fighters known as Kadyrovtsy, Members of various military groups loyal to the local strongman in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, better known as “Putin’s Soldier”. Yushchenko said he was able to identify them by their black uniforms, their use of Islamic emblems, and Kadyrov’s name on body armor.

About an hour later, the Ukrainian army destroyed their column in a different part of the city – but Kadyrovtsy returned. “Many Chechen soldiers infiltrated this street to kill Ukrainian civilians,” Yushchenko told the Daily Beast.

He described how Chechen fighters, also dressed in black, fired at a car traveling on the street with at least “thirty bullets,” according to Yushchenko, killing its occupants and stopping it on the side of the road. On the road next to the apartment building where he was staying. Kadyrovtsy then allegedly dragged the two fatalities who had shot them out of the car, leaving them on the side of the road and getting into the car themselves.

Yushchenko’s mother, Zina Yehorovna, his friend Pavel Kondratyev, and his neighbor Bogdan, confirmed these events to the Daily Beast. But according to Bogdan, the Chechens then hit a civilian trying to flee by car, leaving him hanging from his hood before sliding into the street.

They just shot them.

“It’s simply a war crime what they did here,” Yushchenko said, standing next to the seat where the car crashed after Kadyrovtsy’s claim. attack her. “This is not a war.”

Artem Horin, a council member of the neighboring city of Irbin who is also a deputy commander in the Ukrainian Regional Defense Forces, was one of the first people to visit Bucha after the Russians withdrew. There, he heard many accounts from residents about life in such areas as Yablonska Street, where a group of Kadyrovtsy Those who were supposed to advance to Kyiv were stationed.

According to Horin, Ukrainian civilians were not the only people Kadyrovtsy allegedly brutalized in the city. Horin said residents he spoke to in Borodinka, northwest of Bucha, recounted what Kadyrovtsy’s family had done to the wounded Russian soldiers they brought there from Bucha. “They were taking the seriously wounded Russian soldiers to a big hospital they had there, and those who were badly wounded, they were just shooting them,” he told The Daily Beast. “And no one else but Kadyrovtsy did it.”

Locals are in mourning as a mass grave has been exhumed. Local authorities have attempted to identify the bodies of civilians who died during the Russian occupation in Bucha, Ukraine.

Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

witnesses claim that Kadyrovtsy People executed as early as March 5, Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk advertiser The Chechen units had tied white bands around the arms of prisoners similar to those found on the bodies of executed civilians. Horen said he saw evidence of executions and torture on corpses he found on the street, and spoke to a woman who had suffered four days of torture at the hands of One Kadyrovtsy fighter and one Belarusian soldier before shooting her husband in the head.

They were not allowed to do anything. There they just killed people through binoculars, for example,” Horen said, describing what happened to people who tried to leave their homes to get food and water. “They just shot them.”

Also confirmed by previous reports about a local base in a glass factory on Yablonska Street, the Ukrainian Ombudsman for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova. She said It served as a torture chamber run by the Russians and the Chechens.

According to Kyiv Oblast police, the bodies around 1150 civilians It has been found throughout the Kyiv region since the withdrawal of Russian forces in late March and early April. In Bosha alone, over 400 people have been found dead so far, most of whom were killed by the town’s Russian occupiers over a period of several weeks in March before they withdrew from the town on 1 April.

But accounts like Yushchenko provide evidence that indiscriminate violence against civilians has been part of the Russian army’s playbook in Bucha from nearly the beginning of the war itself, with Chechens Kadyrovtsy playing a major role in brutality even early on – against the local population and their own people. fellow soldiers alike. Much remains unknown about Chechen activity in Bucha, but new details and testimonies from residents and local authorities make it possible to form a clearer picture of the brutal presence of Chechen forces in the town and their participation in the weeks-long war crimes against Bucha. population.

Social media evidence, residents’ testimonies and materials captured by the Kyiv Oblast police indicate that the Kadyrovtsy regiments in Bucha were most likely of the Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) and OMON (Special Purpose Mobile Unit), and that these units, along with possibly That other Russian forces be responsible for a large part of the massacre that took place there.

According to independent security analyst Harold Chambers who specializes in the North Caucasus, this type of personal violence by Kadyrovtsy In Bucha it was no surprise.

What they have experience with, in terms of military operations, is really these zachistkiChambers said, speaking of a brutal house-to-house style of search and killing that Russian forces perfected during the Chechen wars in the 1990s and early 2000s. “It plays into their specialty in targeting the civilian population, and from the stories we’ve already heard from Bucha, that’s pretty much what was going on.”

Despite their presence at Bucha in late February, Russian forces were not able to take full control of the city until several days or so later. March 2. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has determined 64 separate mechanized infantry brigade as one of the Russian military groups responsible for the massacre that followed in Bucha throughout March, but evidence suggests that they were not the only ones involved.

According to Andrei Halvin, priest at the Church of Saint Apostle Saint Andrew the First-Called in Bucha, where a mass grave of about 280 people was dug during the Russian occupation, regiments that included SOBR and OMON units began replacing the original occupying forces later in March.

“In the beginning, though they were, shall we say, strict, they were fair. At first they would search my car and ask me to carry on with my work, and so forth,” Halvin said. “But then others came.”

Andriy Nebytov, Kyiv Oblast police chief in charge of Bucha, confirmed that SOBR and OMON units were present in the Kyiv region, citing documents seized by the police department showing lists of personnel of the regiments who arrived in the region. . Since the information will be used in future criminal cases against Russia, his office was unable to provide the list to The Daily Beast, but the documents were seen in video Nebytov posted recently.

On February 27, Ukrainian forces destroyed A large column of chariots included Kadyrovtsy On Vokzal’na Street near Bucha train station, which is lined with Yuschenko’s account from the same day. The column had reached the town from Hostomil, which is to the northeast of Bucha, where Huseyin Megjidov, the Chechen commander of the “Yug” battalion of the 141st Special Mechanized Regiment that forms the backbone of Kadyrovtsy, Seen in a video On February 26.

This situation was the biggest horror of my life.

According to Chambers, the most likely Chechen unit that was in Bucha on February 27 was the “Akhmat” group of the SOBR. However, circuits noted that the organization pattern Kadyrovtsy Units around Kyiv make identifying specific combatant groups that fought on that front particularly difficult.

“It seems that Kadyrovsky does not fight as much in specific units, it seems that they work more in joint groups,” Chambers said. “You have a lot of leaders nested together, so it seems less clear how the units are actually separated.”

Militarily and strategically, Kadyrovtsy deployed in Kyiv Oblast served several purposes – some groups were designed to be strike teams aimed at Assassination of Ukrainian President Zelensky and his family if they were able to reach Kyiv, but according to Michael Kaufman, director of the Russian Studies Program at the Central News Agency, the primary objective of these units was a broader target.

“The Chechens have a real goal. The Russian army needs manpower,” Kaufman said. He added that Kadyrovtsy was to be deployed in cities, especially in Kyiv, in order to support the soldiers of the Eastern Military District, who were supposed to lay siege to the capital, and fight alongside Airborne units within city limits.

“These Chechen units and auxiliaries were really important for urban combat, because a lot of the other units they sent were very low due to the availability of manpower,” he said.

A Ukrainian soldier looks at workers exhuming bodies from a mass grave in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv. Ukraine says it has found 1,222 bodies in Bucha and other towns.

AFP via Getty Images

Ultimately, none of that happened, and Kadyrovtsy, along with other Russian units, was left to their own devices and given carte blanche to allegedly mistreat and kill Bucha residents for weeks, as people like Yushchenko saw firsthand. Yushchenko said all his years of military service paled in comparison to his experience in town.

“There, you know where the front line is, you know where the threats come from,” Yushchenko said of his time fighting in eastern Ukraine. “This was much more frightening than the Donbass. From a lieutenant, to a platoon commander, to the deputy chief of staff, this situation was the greatest horror of my life.”