Ukraine hunts for Putin’s ‘Butchers of Bucha’

Ukraine: President Zelensky visits Bucha in April

A year ago, shocking evidence of Russia’s war crimes was discovered in Bucha, a city just outside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. More than 450 bodies were found, with Ukraine reporting evidence that many civilians had been tortured and killed during Russia’s initial invasion. Ukrainian police found 40 bodies on one street alone after Russia retreated from the area.

Many victims were found with their hands tied behind their backs while others were beheaded, dismembered and scalped.

During Russia’s occupation of Bucha, it has also been claimed that victims were subjected to sexual violence. The UN says victims aged four to 82 were subjected to sexual violence.

The men responsible for these horrific crimes have been named, with war crimes investigation organisation Russian Torturers tracking their movements.

Two have gone missing, but the rest are at large.

Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov is the man who reportedly oversaw the massacre in Bucha, and he has since been honoured by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He was given the title of “Hero of the Russian Federation”.

Omurbekov is believed to be based in Chebarkul, Russia.

Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine have been condemned throughout the conflict.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin earlier this month on charges of abducting children and targeting civilian infrastructure.

It has been reported that Russia is holding Ukrainian children in “re-education” camps.

International law firm Global Rights Compliance is supporting the ongoing investigation into Putin’s war crimes by Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General.

Wayne Jordash KC, managing partner at the firm, told The Sun Online: “There can be no doubt that Russian forces were working to a plan.

“At the very least, Russia intended to destroy Ukraine as a nation through a concerted campaign of international crimes.

“Over 450 civilians met their untimely deaths and hundreds more were disappeared, tortured, sexually violated or injured during the almost one month of occupation at the hands of this brutal force.

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“The Russian plan for Bucha is now as clear as day: they wanted to eliminate any semblance of Ukrainian resistance and identity in the town.

“They were willing to stop at nothing – terrorism, torture and indiscriminate murder of civilians included – to achieve this goal.

“One year has passed since the startling footage from liberated Bucha plunged the civilised world into shock.

“Bucha is now free and able to look back at those dark days.

“Every day we know more and every day we move closer to justice for victims and their families.”

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has also said that there have been “clear patterns” of Russian war crimes in Bucha.

Meanwhile, Richard Weir, crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Russian forces “showed contempt and disregard for civilian life and the most fundamental principles of the laws of war”.

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