UKRAINIAN military officials have pictured and named 10 Russian soldiers it accuses of being among the so-called “Butchers of Bucha” who massacred civilians in the town.
Dubbed the “Despicable Ten”, the men’s faces and names were released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.
It said in a statement: “Ten Russian butchers from the 64th Brigade have been identified and named [as] suspects responsible for committing the Bucha massacre.
“This unit [has] been awarded for its atrocities and returned to the battlefield. Justice for war criminals is inevitable.”
Among the 10 soldiers IDed are Junior Sergeant Viacheslav Lavrentiev, a firefighter before the war, martial artist Private Grigoriy Naryshkin, and professional dancer Corporal Semen Maltsev.
A number of the group have reportedly continued to post on Facebook since the outbreak of war, including Private Vasiliy Kniazev, 24, who is said to have shared details of where the 64th Brigade was stationed in Ukraine.
Private Sergey Peskariov, 24, quit his job at a supermarket in November in anticipation of war with Ukraine. He got his wish and is now accused of war crimes in Bucha.
Married Corporal Mikhail Kashin is said to have marked his birthday in Bucha by massacring civilians.
While Sergeant Nikita Akimov, who is said to have personally kidnapped and tortured Bucha civilians, has continued to post on Facebook, where pictures of his young children seem surreal following revelations about his alleged crimes.
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While the commander of the Bucha “butchers”, Lt Col Azatbek Omurbekov, was last week promoted to the rank of Colonel.
It was revealed that Omurbekov received a blessing from the Russian Orthodox Church in November, just months before the troops he commanded are alleged to have massacred and tortured hundreds of Ukrainian civilians.
This is despite the fact his men have been accused of a series of war crimes, including gang rapes, torture, and the executions of civilians.
The men’s alleged identities were found after a joint investigation by the Prosecutor General’s office in Ukraine and the news agency Slidstvo.
Speaking today, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said: “We will not stop until we bring each of them to justice.”
‘THE DESPICABLE TEN’
THE Russian soldiers accused of massacring civilians in the town of Bucha
- Jr. Sgt. Viacheslav Lavrentiev: 29, a firefighter in Transbaikal, eastern Russia before the war. Posted on Facebook ‘live one life – save thousands’
- Private Grigoriy Naryshkin: 30, from far-eastern Russia. An athlete and martial artist, personally accused of war crimes by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General
- Private Vasiliy Kniazev: 24, grew up in poverty in Yoshkar-Ola, western Russia. He joined the army straight from school. Posted pictures on Facebook of where the 64th Brigade was stationed following the Ukraine invasion
- Corporal Semen Maltsev: 26, and a professional dancer before the war. Left his dance company to sign up to fight in Ukraine in February. Also from the far east of Russia
- Private Sergey Peskariov: 24, quit his job at a supermarket in November in anticipation of war with Ukraine
- Private Albert Radnaev: 24, joined the army straight from school, his father is also reportedly in the Russian Army
- Corporal Mikhail Kashin: 24, from Votinsk, west Russia, where he has a wife and several sisters. He allegedly committed war crimes on his birthday in Bucha
- Corporal Andrey Biziaev: 33, has reportedly served in the Russian Army for over 10 years. Originally from Khabarovsk, eastern Russia
- Corporal Dmitriy Sergienko: 27, from Voronezh, southwest Russia. Has a wife and young daughter
- Sgt. Nikita Akimov: 25, from Komsomolsk in the far east of Russia. Accused of personally kidnapping and torturing innocent civilians in Bucha. Married with kids, and has posted on Facebook throughout the Russian invasion
All of the men named and pictured on Thursday are young – aged between 24 and 33 – and range in ranks from privates to sergeants to corporals.
Following the withdrawal from Bucha, they were moved to Belarus and then on to the western Russian border city of Belgorod.
The “Butchers of Bucha” are feared to have been redeployed to Ukraine, and are said to be fighting in the eastern Donbas region, where most of the Russian army is now concentrated.
Military analysts have claimed that Putin deliberately sent the soldiers back to the frontline so that they would “disappear” and will never be forced to testify over their alleged war crimes.
Putin is said to know that the troops could one day be made to stand trial and reveal the scale of the horrors they allegedly carried out.
They have reportedly been sent to the front line between Kharkiv and Izyum, where Ukrainian fighters are based, out for revenge.
More than 400 corpses, many of them brutally mutilated and tortured, were discovered in Bucha following the withdrawal of Russian troops.
Among the atrocities reportedly uncovered by Ukrainian forces were “torture chambers” set up in basements where civilians were executed by Putin’s soldiers.
While nine women and girls in Bucha became pregnant after being raped by Russian soldiers in the town.
It is believed that the “Despicable Ten” were supported in their massacres by the shadowy Wagner mercenaries.
This feared neo-Nazi fighting force known as Putin’s private army has already been linked to a string of war crimes around the world.
Ukraine is said to be looking to defeat the 64th Brigade as a huge symbolic victory, similar to the sinking of the Moskva warship.
Russia continues to deny that any massacre took place in Bucha, and claims the images of mass graves and dead bodies were all faked.
“In the course of capturing the designated boundary, the enemy numbering up to a battalion was defeated, and more than 40 pieces of equipment destroyed,” the pro-Putin newspaper Red Star reported.
“The Nationalist unit lost all combat capability and was no longer involved in combat operations.
“Within three weeks, under the leadership of Colonel Omurbekov, brigade units at the occupied line repelled more than 50 attacks by the enemy using tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and heavy artillery.”
Ukrainian officials claim that the corpses of more than 1,000 civilians have been retrieved from around Kyiv and that French investigators are working with them to document alleged war crimes.
On Monday, it was revealed through forensic tests that many women were raped before being killed and dumped in mass graves.
A UN mission to Bucha has also documented “the unlawful killing, including by summary execution, of some 50 civilians there,” according to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
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