Russian Troops Held Babies Hostage, Executed Boy on Playground, Human Rights Watch Finds

Russian forces shot down a 14-year-old boy playing soccer and two teenage brothers for a walk after they seized control of villages in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions during the early weeks of the war, a new investigation disclosure.

Teenagers are just a handful of victims of what Human Rights Watch has described as Russia’s “disgusting, illegal and cruel” campaign against civilians from late February to March. After interviewing dozens of survivors, the human rights group on Tuesday unveiled new “clear war crimes” it said must be immediately investigated.

Survivors from the village of Yahidne recounted how Russian soldiers held more than 350 residents hostage in a school basement for 28 days, in conditions so extreme that many who had survived the ordeal still had to hospitalized in mid-April for conditions they developed during their period. in captivity.

The 70 people trapped in the basement were children, five of them infants, survivors said.

“After a week, everyone was coughing violently. Almost all the children had a high fever, spasms from cough and would vomit,” one survivor was quoted as saying, noting that the detainees were deprived of food for the first few days.

Ten elderly hostages are believed to have died during weeks of captivity.

In several other cases, survivors recounted how the Russian army was looking for every excuse to kill villagers, and then execute them even if they couldn’t find them.

Anastasia Andriivna, 66, an Andriivka survivor, told Human Rights Watch her 45-year-old son was murdered after Russian forces found a military jacket from his time in the country. National Guard in 1993.

She found his body in a warehouse after the Russian forces withdrew. “He was lying there in the fetal position, his hands under his head, his coat over his shoulders. He was shot in the ear, blood was all over his face,” she was quoted as saying.

According to reports, in the village of Mokhnatyn in the Chernihiv region, a passing Russian convoy shot down 17-year-old twins, Yevhen and Bohdan Samodiy, along with their 18-year-old friend, Valentin Yakimchuk.

In the village of Nova Basan, 14-year-old Dmytro Solovei was kicking a ball on the playground when he was shot dead by Russian troops. His brother was later shot as he attempted to rehabilitate his sibling’s body.

Perhaps most disturbingly, the Russian military appears to be ordered to carry out indiscriminate executions. One survivor, a resident of Novyi Bykiv, told investigators that Russian soldiers who took him and several others hostage said they had orders to kill the eight detainees and demanded “love.” volunteers”.

When no one came first, they randomly selected eight men.

Human Rights Watch also records cases of disappearances and forced torture. The Kremlin has repeatedly stated that its troops only target military sites and avoid aggression against civilians, despite evidence to the contrary. The International Criminal Court sent its largest ever investigative team to Ukraine earlier this week to investigate hundreds of cases of alleged war crimes.

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