Ten Russian soldiers were charged on Thursday with suspected war crimes in Boutcha, which are wanted, Ukraine’s Attorney General’s office said on its Telegram account.
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“Ten soldiers of Russia’s 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade, part of Russia’s 35th Army, have been charged in connection with cruel treatment of civilians and other violations of the laws and customs of war,” they said.
According to the investigation, during its occupation of Boutcha in March, the Russian military “took hostage civilians who did not take part in the hostilities and were not armed. The inmates gave them neither food nor drink,” prosecutor Iryna Venediktova reported in detail.
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“The suspects forced them to kneel down, blindfolded them with cloth and sticker paper, tied their hands with plastic ties and threatened to kill them by deliberately shooting in their direction,” they said.
“In one case, in order to obtain information about the whereabouts of Ukrainian soldiers, the Russian military unjustly inflicted injuries on civilians. They received beatings, kicks in the legs, toes and upper body. The occupiers also looted the local population and confiscated their personal belongings and household items,” they said.
The prosecutor added that the ten men would be subject to a search with a view to arresting them and bringing them to justice.
If they are not accused of killing civilians at this time, investigations into “their involvement in other crimes, including premeditated murders,” will continue, she specified.
This allegation is the first since AFP discovered 20 bodies of people in civilian clothes lying on a street in Boutcha on April 2, drawing global condemnation and outrage.
The Ukrainians accused the Russians of war crimes, but Moscow denied any responsibility, saying the bodies were “staged” by Kyiv.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade an honorary title for “heroism” on April 18, after Ukraine accused them of complicity in the abuses.
Beyond the Ukrainian investigation, prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Briton Karim Khan, visited Boutcha on April 13 and described Ukraine as a “crime scene”.
He announced that a forensic team would be working in Boutcha and has since clarified that his investigators will work with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed in March by Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine with the support of Eurojust, the agency of the European Union, judicial cooperation was formed to facilitate the gathering of evidence.