In the initial weeks of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian armed forces summarily executed or carried out attacks on individuals leading to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, the Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner said today. A UN Human Rights report based on the work of the Mission details how Russian troops killed civilians in Ukrainian towns and villages across the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions of Ukraine from 24 February until 6 April 2022.
Bogner said the summary executions examined in the report may constitute a war crime: “There are strong indications that the summary executions documented in this report may constitute the war crime of willful killing”.
The report explains how killings of civilians were not confined to specific locations, although some areas were more affected than others. In the town of Bucha near Kyiv, which was under the control of Russian troops from 5 to 30 March, the Mission documented the killing of 73 civilians (54 men, 16 women, 2 boys and 1 girl) and is in the process of corroborating an additional 105 alleged killings.
Summary executions often followed security checks by Russian armed forces. “A mere text message, a piece of camouflage clothing, or a record of previous military service could have fatal consequences”, - Bogner said.
The report states that the UN has, so far, documented the violent deaths of 441 civilians (341 men, 72 women, 20 boys and 8 girls) in the three regions in the initial 6 weeks of the Russian invasion alone. The report cautions that the actual figures are likely to be considerably higher as work is still ongoing to corroborate an additional 198 killings that occurred in the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions of Ukraine occupied by Russia in the initial stages of the ongoing armed attack against Ukraine.