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The Russian troops responsible for conducting the heinous war crimes against helpless civilians in Bucha are already on their way back to the frontlines, according to the intelligence of Ukraine’s ministry of defence.
Members of the 64th Motorised Rifle Brigade of the 35th All-Russian Army, who Ukrainian authorities named as the culprits responsible for slaughtering hundreds on the outskirts of Kyiv, withdrew from Bucha last week and arrived in Mazyr, Belarus, yesterday.
The ‘butchers of Bucha’ left a trail of death and destruction in their wake, as Ukrainian authorities discovered several mass graves and scores of corpses over the weekend who appeared to have been tortured and executed.
But the main intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s MoD claims that Russian commanders are refusing to rotate their brigades, with the war criminals already on their way to Belgorod in Western Russia for redeployment.
A report published on the Ukrainian MoD’s website said the brigade is being sent to the ‘hottest spots’, likely around Kharkiv, in the hope that they will be killed before they are forced to testify in a war crime tribunal.
‘Another goal of the rapid return of the 64th Brigade to Ukrainian territory is the quick ‘disposal’ of unnecessary witnesses,’ the report read.
‘That is, redeployment to a part of the war front where they will have no chance of surviving, thus making it impossible for them to testify in future courts.’
Intelligence also suggests that despite widespread resistance in the ranks, Russian commanders are refusing to accept any resignations from the perpetrators of the crimes and are threatening any dissenters with court martial.
The Kremlin meanwhile continues to deny the accusations of war crimes levied against its troops, while Russian political commentators have gone as far as to suggest the harrowing scenes were staged by Ukraine and the West to discredit Putin.
Dead bodies litter the streets near Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after Russian forces withdrew from the region – leaving evidence of ‘war crimes’ in their wake
Ukrainian servicemen inspect the wreckage of houses, cars and Russian military vehicles in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, yesterday
Men take away bodies of Ukrainian civilians killed in the Russian invasion, on a street in the small city of Bucha of Kyiv (Kiev) area, Ukraine, 03 April 2022
Members of the 64th Motorised Rifle Brigade of the 35th All-Russian Army, who Ukrainian authorities named as the culprits responsible for the torture and slaughter of hundreds on the outskirts of Kyiv, withdrew from Bucha (pictured) last week and arrived in Mazyr, Belarus, yesterday
Bodies of civilians in plastic bags lay in a mass grave in Bucha city, which was the recaptured by the Ukrainian army, Kyiv (Kiev) area, Ukraine, 04 April 2022. More than 410 bodies of killed civilians were carried from the recaptured territory in Kyiv’s area for exgumation and expert examination
People gather outside the Ukrainian embassy in Yerevan to mourn civilians found dead in the town of Bucha, to the northwest of Kyiv, on April 4, 2022
Ukrainian authorities said the butchers of Bucha will arrive in Belgorod tomorrow and by April 8 will cross the border once again to cause yet more chaos.
The scale of the havoc wrought by the 64th Motorised Rifle Brigade and other Russian forces in areas north of Kyiv has served as a stark reminder of the horrors of war, but Ukrainian authorities fear the worst is yet to come.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said yesterday the evidence of civilian killings in Bucha was just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, with Ukrainian forces yet to reach all areas vacated by Russian troops.
President Volodymyr Zelensky was visibly emotional when he visited Bucha yesterday and observed the trail of death and destruction left by Russia’s troops, including those from the 64th Motorised Rifle Brigade.
‘The military tortured people and we have every reason to believe that there are many more people killed,’ Zelensky said. ‘Much more than we know now.’
‘These are war crimes and will be recognised by the world as genocide. It’s very difficult to talk when you see what they’ve done here,’ the President continued solemnly.
‘We know of thousands of people killed and tortured, with severed limbs, raped women and murdered children,’ he said, before adding that ‘dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured’.
Zelensky is set to address the UN Security Council today, where he is expected to push world leaders to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over the atrocities, send more weapons for his armed forces, and formally request a war crimes probe to punish the Russian commanders responsible for the slaughter.
Ukraine’s allies have also labelled the killings in Bucha war crimes, with the EU offering to send investigators to gather evidence.
‘[Putin] is a war criminal,’ US President Biden told reporters at the White House yesterday.
‘What’s happening to Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it.’
The White House said it would announce fresh sanctions on Moscow ‘this week’ with France suggesting new measures could target Russian oil and coal exports.
The United States and Britain also said they would seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council – a move Moscow branded ‘unbelievable’.
Russia meanwhile continues to deny the accusations of war crimes in Bucha, despite overwhelming evidence, including satellite imagery, to suggest its troops murdered hundreds of civilians in cold blood.
Visibly distressed Zelensky speaks to press on streets of Bucha
Broken: A visibly emotional President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday stood motionless as he surveyed the scene of utter devastation he encountered in the town of Bucha, with dozens of bodies shot at close range laying on the empty streets
A Ukrainian policeman walks by a pit in the village of Motyzhyn, Ukraine, April 3, where well over a dozen bodies were discovered, including those of the town’s mayor and her family
A mass grave was discovered in the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints in Bucha
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday that the Kremlin will prove the accusations of war crimes as false, while several Russian journalists and television personalities even alleged the harrowing scenes had been staged by Ukraine and Britain.
Russian political commentator and researcher Gevorg Mirzayan yesterday declared: ‘This was done by professionals, probably British. They’re the best in the area of information operations.
‘[They know how] to place the bodies correctly, do everything correctly, create a nice picture for the necrophilic Western consciousness.’
The outrageous statements came hours after pro-Putin commentator Vladimir Soloviev said the destruction in Bucha was part of a plot cooked up by Ukraine and Britain to discredit Russia.
‘The war against Russia entered a new phase today. Very soon we will be blamed of genocide,’ he said.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) said his country will hold a press conference to prove that claims Vladimir Putin’s troops have been committing war crimes in Ukraine are false however the Kremlin has yet to present their evidence
Russian journalist claims Britain responsible for bodies in Bucha
Russian TV claims Bucha massacre was ‘planned by the British’
Even as the commentators rejected the allegations of brutality in Bucha, accounts from Russian conscripts in the Donbas region emerged, describing the awful treatment young and untrained soldiers are suffering at the hands of their superiors.
One of the soldiers, a student conscripted in late February, said a fellow fighter told him to prepare to repel a close-quarter attack by Ukrainian forces in southwest Donbas, but said ‘I don’t even know how to fire an automatic weapon.’
The student and his unit fired back and evaded capture, but he was injured in a later battle, he told Reuters news agency. He did not say when the fighting took place.
He said that at one point, he was forced to drink water from a fetid pond full of the corpses of frogs because of a lack of supplies. Two other sources in contact with draftees also said the men had to drink untreated water.
Some Donbas conscripts were even given the highly dangerous mission of drawing enemy fire onto themselves so other units could identify the Ukrainian positions and bomb them, according to one of the sources and video testimony from a prisoner of war published by Ukrainian forces.