Apr 28, 2022 - World

Ukraine files first war crime charges for Bucha atrocities

Officials in Bucha

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova visits a mass grave in Bucha on April 13. Photo: Fadel Senna/ AFP via Getty Images

In a first since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, prosecutors on Thursday filed criminal charges against 10 Russian soldiers accused of war crimes in Bucha, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Driving the news: The soldiers were “involved in torture of peaceful civilians” while occupying Bucha, Ukraine's General Prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said in a social media post. Ukraine said more than 300 people were found dead there this month after Russian forces withdrew from the suburb of Kyiv at the end of March.

  • Russia has denied targeting Ukrainian civilians, and the Kremlin dismissed photographic evidence of the atrocities in Bucha as staged.

What they’re saying: Venediktova said in a "very short time, the investigation established that during the occupation of Bucha, they took unarmed civilians hostage, didn’t provide food and water to them, kept them on their knees with their hands tied and their eyes covered in duct tape, and they were mocked and beaten.”

  • She added: “Some were tortured for no reason at all.”

Details: By cross-referencing Russian military rosters and social media postings, investigators confirmed the identities of 10 soldiers in interviews with witnesses and victims of the alleged crimes.

  • The 10 soldiers who prosecutors charged — four privates, four corporals and two sergeants — are a part of Russia’s 64th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the unit previously for its “great heroism and courage.”

What we’re watching: The charges could be the first of many brought over the atrocities in Bucha. Investigators say their work is ongoing.

  • Ukraine wants to try all Bucha war crimes cases in its domestic courts, then present a wider case to the International Criminal Court, per WSJ.

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