Ukraine charges 8 Russian soldiers, mercenaries in killings of mayor and family
Five Russian soldiers and three mercenaries have been charged with the murder of a Ukrainian mayor and her family in a Kyiv region village, Ukraine's prosecutor general Irina Venediktova said Tuesday.
Driving the news: Venediktova alleged in a Facebook post the soldiers and mercenaries from Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization with ties to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, "kidnapped Olga Sukhenko, her husband and son from their home in the village of Motizhyn" in March.
- They allegedly "tortured them, trying to beat out information," Venediktova said. "Just in front of the mother, they first shot her son in the leg and then killed him with a shot in the head. The whole family died from multiple gunshot wounds," she continued.
- "In addition to killing, torturing and holding prisoners ... the suspects also bombarded and [torched] the homes of civilians and stole mobile phones," Venediktova added.
- Their bodies were discovered in a shallow grave near their village, some 30 miles west of Kyiv, on April 2, after Russian forces pulled out of the capital, per the New York Times.
The big picture: Venediktova said last month that her office had opened 5,600 cases of alleged war crimes by Russian soldiers since the start of the invasion.
- Prosecutors have also filed criminal charges against 10 Russian soldiers accused of war crimes in Bucha, where at least 300 Ukrainians were tortured and killed.
- A Ukrainian court last week sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for committing war crimes during the invasion.
For the record: The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected the war crimes allegations and denied that its forces target civilians.