War rapes in Ukraine: “Raped for a photo”

Of Lorenzo Cremonesi

The denunciation of the mayor of Brovary: “The story is told by many who are fleeing the occupied areas.” The name of an attacker, an officer, was also published in the media

“The Russian soldiers
they rape Ukrainian women. We know that it happens, so many of those who flee from the occupied areas tell it in a whisper. It is a serious problem, we still do not understand how widespread it is. But we are already aware of specific cases ». The complaint comes precisely from Ihor Sapozhko, 45-year-old mayor of Brovary, the city of about 140,000 inhabitants located about twenty kilometers from the eastern districts of the capital.

Killed after the rape

The Russian advanced patrols are here, just behind the industrial area, the rumble of bombs can be heard from the local hospital, the clouds of fires obscure the horizon. «From the accounts of the witnesses it appears that some Russian commanders incite their soldiers to attack the wives and daughters of our military or civilian volunteer fighters they find in homes. In other situations, however, we know that they punished the rapists. We have been told from multiple sources that at least on one occasion they have violated our female soldiers captured during the battle at the airport of Hostomel, in the early days of the war. We do not know their number, there is still fighting. But the victims can’t testify, after the violence they killed themperhaps hanged or cut and cut to hide the evidence, ”he adds.

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A weapon of war

THEThe theme is as old as the war between men. In the final stages of the Second World War the Red Army made violence against German women a systematic policy.
In recent decades, rape as a weapon of “ethnic cleansing” has characterized the conflict in the former Yugoslaviait happened in Chechnya, in Syria Bashar Assad’s soldiers (allies of Moscow) methodically adopted it as a form of torture in prisons to dampen the civil revolts that broke out in 2011. Isis in Iraq in 2014, he kidnapped over 5,000 Yazidi women to turn them into “sex slaves”. In other conflicts, like that one in Libyathe argument is often used as propaganda to criminalize the opponent, but in reality there have been very few confirmed rapes.
Here in Ukraine there is still little talk of itbut with the enlargement of the areas under Russian control, the issue of abuses against the civilian population is becoming increasingly important.
“Many of the wounded and their families who arrive here at our hospital talk about the rapes. We are quite certain that they will happen. However, we still have no medical evidence for the fact that there are direct witnesses and victims closed in occupied areas by the advancing Russian army. Many killed are buried among the houses in makeshift graves, ”says Volodymyr Andriiets, a doctor at the local hospital.


But the mayor Sapozhko he can tell some stories. One of her concerns an old friend of hers, the 36-year-old Oleskiy Zdorovts former secretary of the municipality, and his young wife Maryna. As the local website also testified on March 10, Kyiv.tsn.uaRussian soldiers broke into their home in the village of Nova Bohdanivka and murdered in cold blood Oleskiy. It seems they were looking for him, as they hunt down all the local political leaders. “The neighbors then phoned me to tell about Maryna’s rape. They found her naked and confused next to her little son. But still we couldn’t get her to safety»Says the mayor. The name of the rapist is also published on local social networks, the Russian officer Mikhail Romanov, who had lashed out at other prisoners and had already been killed by Ukrainian soldiers.

Another woman was reportedly raped in the neighboring village, Baryshivka. “The soldiers found on her cell phone the photos of her volunteer husband with the rifle in his hand. She appears to have been attacked by about twenty men. A terrible story, ”adds the mayor, who points out a very similar story in the village of Valyka Dymerka. «Today we advise the relatives of our fighters to hide or destroy cell phones, photos, military items and computers. It is now clear that Russian intelligence works with the army to strike our resistance ».

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