Ukrainian women were raped before being killed, says British newspaper

Forensic doctors performing posthumous examinations on bodies found in mass graves north of Kiev say they have found evidence that some women were raped before being killed by Russian forces, according to The Guardian newspaper report. Evidence was seen in dozens of autopsies of residents of bushing, Irpin and Borodianka, cities that were under Russian occupation for about 1 month. The details of the autopsies were not revealed because forensic doctors are still collecting data and hundreds of bodies are yet to be examined.

A team led by forensic doctor Vladislav Perovski to perform autopsies in the region examines about 15 bodies a day, and many of them are mutilated. “There are a lot of burned bodies and heavily disfigured bodies that are simply impossible to identify,” he told the Guardian. “The face can be smashed to pieces, you can’t put it back together, sometimes there’s no head at all.” He added that the bodies of some women they examined showed signs that the victims had been killed by automatic gunfire, with more than six bullet holes found in their backs.

Senior prosecutor for the Kiev region, Oleh Tkalenko, told the Guardian that details of alleged rapes had been forwarded to his office, which investigates circumstances such as victims’ locations and ages. “Rape cases are a very sensitive and sensitive subject,” he said. “Forensic doctors have a specific task to check the genitalia of female victims and look for signs.” There are also reports of some bodies so decomposed that it is difficult to find signs of rape and abuse.

Further evidence of the crimes is the testimony of dozens of women to police, the media and human rights organizations about the atrocities they say they have suffered at the hands of Russian soldiers. After the Russians left the cities, investigators heard testimonies of gang rapes, armed robberies and rapes committed in front of children.

Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, Liudmila Denisova, has officially documented the cases of 25 women who were held in a basement and systematically raped in Bucha, a city now synonymous with Russian war crimes. Authorities have warned that these cases could be the tip of the iceberg and have accused Russian troops of using rape as a tool of war.

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The President of Ukraine, Volodmyr Zelensky, also said in a statement last week that hundreds of women were raped by Russian soldiers. Ukrainian authorities declined to provide exact numbers or details about where the rapes took place or the ages of the victims. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians during the war, even as evidence to the contrary mounts. Much of the evidence gathered by Ukrainian prosecutors will soon be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has launched an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

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