KYIV — The Ukrainian authorities have published the names and photos of 10 Russian soldiers whom they accuse of kidnapping and torturing unarmed civilians in the town of Bucha, the most detailed accusation yet against Russian forces in Ukraine.
Bucha, a suburb north of Kyiv, was the site of some of the war’s worst atrocities discovered so far. The bodies of hundreds of civilians were found there after Russian troops pulled out of the area in late March. Many victims had been shot in the back of the head and others had been executed with their hands tied behind their backs. Ukrainian officials said that women had been raped and children killed.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said in a statement on Thursday that the 10 named Russian soldiers took civilians hostage, “killed them with hunger and thirst, kept them on their knees with their hands tied and their eyes taped” and “humiliated and beat” them. The statement, which was posted on social media, included photos of the soldiers identified.
“We know all the details about them and their actions,” President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said in an overnight address. “And we will find everyone, just as we will find all the other Russian thugs who killed and tortured Ukrainians, who tormented our people, who destroyed houses and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.”
Russian officials have denied that their troops committed any crimes in Bucha, calling the images and witness accounts fake. But dozens of witnesses, along with independent human rights investigators, have said the occupying Russian forces did just that.
In a recent Human Rights Watch report, the advocacy group said that “Russian forces committed a litany of apparent war crimes during their occupation of Bucha” and there was “extensive evidence of summary executions, other unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, all of which would constitute war crimes and potential crimes against humanity.”
Ukrainian authorities identified Russia’s 64th separate motorized infantry brigade as the unit responsible for some of these atrocities and said their involvement had been “established through investigative and coordinated work of prosecutors and police officers.” The soldiers were all young and lower ranking and included four privates, four corporals and two sergeants, Ukrainian officials said.
This case is the fruit of a sprawling investigation that will likely produce more detailed allegations in the coming days. For the past month, hundreds of Ukrainian lawyers and police officers have combed Bucha’s ruined streets, interviewing witnesses and collecting forensic evidence from bodies and crime scenes.
They have also gathered imagery of Russian soldiers from social media, closed circuit cameras and other sources to determine which Russian troops were where, and line that up with when atrocities were committed.
“Ukraine’s position is absolutely clear,” Mr. Zelensky said. “Every Russian criminal must be and will be brought to justice. Whoever they are and wherever they hide, we will find them all and make them bear responsibility.”
Oleksandr Chubko contributed reporting.