Apr 18, 2022 - World

Putin honors Russian brigade accused of Bucha atrocities

Civilians walk amid the destruction on a street in the town of Bucha,

Civilians walk amid ruins in Bucha on April 6 after the withdrawal of the Russian army from the Kyiv region. Photo: Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday bestowed an honorary title on a military unit accused of committing war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine.

Driving the news: As Russian forces withdrew from the Kyiv region earlier this month, evidence surfaced of dead civilians — some with their hands tied behind their backs — strewn in the streets of the city of Bucha.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address days later that more than 300 people had been tortured and killed in Bucha by Russian forces.

State of play: In a statement on April 4, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense explicitly named Russia's 64th Motorized Infantry Brigade as "directly involved in committing war crimes against the people of Ukraine in Bucha."

  • The ministry added in a post on Facebook that while the brigade had been initially withdrawn to Belarus, and later to Russia, it has since been sent back into Ukraine.

What they're saying: "I congratulate you on conferring the honorary title 'Guards' on the brigade," Putin said in a statement.

  • "This is a high honor and recognition of your special merits, mass heroism and courage shown in defending the Fatherland, upholding the sovereignty and national interests of Russia."
  • "I wish the command and personnel of the 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade good health and success," Putin concluded.
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