Russian Retreat Shines Light on Massacre in Bucha, Ukraine

A man tried to escape Bucha on his bicycle. Although he was killed, the dog remained by his side for days. (Image blurred due to graphic nature.)
A man tried to escape Bucha on his bicycle. Although he was killed, the dog remained by his side for days. (Image blurred due to graphic nature.) (Courtesy Gary Kellner)
Editor's Note: The following story contains graphic descriptions, graphic photos and links to graphic content. Reader discretion advised.

Bucha, Ukraine, was a thriving middle-class suburb of Kyiv with young families, new houses and green lawns until the Russian army transformed it into a post-apocalyptic landscape of gangland-style executions, mass graves and bodies strewn in the streets.

Agence France-Presse reported Saturday that, in the wake of the Russian retreat from the Kyiv region, its journalists saw "at least 20 bodies on a single street" in Bucha. All of the corpses were in civilian clothes, the agency reported.

The video at this link details some of the horrors discovered there (Warning: Extreme graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.)

Ukrainian officials on Sunday accused Russian forces of conducting a "deliberate massacre." "These people were not in the military. They had no weapons. They posed no threat," reports Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Evidence of advance planning of the massacres has emerged. Satellite images generated by Maxar show trenches being dug in the city as early as March 10, trenches now filled with the bodies. Numbers are still coming in, but more than 150 bodies have been uncovered in one of the trenches.

Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia Division of the Human Rights Watch, reports verified incidents as early as March 4. One woman testified to witnessing five men forced to kneel in the street with their hands behind their heads. She states that she saw a Russian soldier squeeze off a shot into the back of one man's head before she left the scene.

Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk similarly reports that those left on the streets "were shot in the back of their heads." Bodies, also shot execution-style, have been found (caution: graphic photo at this link) in basements as well.

Half-burned bodies, including those of a family of five, have also been discovered, giving strong evidence of efforts to cover up the atrocities being committed.

Bucha 1R

Russians killed and burned the bodies of a family of five. Photo courtesy Gary Kellner.

Reports of rape and sexual torture come from every region invaded by the Russians and mirrors Russian behavior in the Second World War, Chechnya and Syria.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg describes the murders as "a brutality against civilians we haven't seen in Europe for decades, and it's horrific, and it's absolutely unacceptable."

"I think it's fairly obvious, not just to us but to the world, that Russian forces are responsible for the atrocities in Bucha," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing.

Russian authorities have issued denials, characterizing the reports from Bucha as "fakes" and accusing the government of Ukraine of staging a media event. Tuesday, Zelenskyy will address the U.N. Security Council regarding the atrocities in Bucha and beyond.

Gary Kellner is the founder and former executive director of the Institute of Christian Leadership, the first graduate school of leadership studies in the former Soviet Union. He served as the president of Save Ukraine Now, an interdenominational organization supporting the Ukrainian people through advocacy and by providing humanitarian aid during the Russian incursion in 2014.

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