During the occupation of Kupyansk, 30-year-old local resident Dmytro Hrechanyi was taking photos and recording videos of the movement of Russian military equipment and sending them along with geolocation marks to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). In early August, Dmytro and his girlfriend Olena [name is changed] were summoned to the police station for questioning: they were asked whether they cooperated with the Ukrainian special services. During the interrogation, the occupiers made a backup copy of the man's phone and found previously deleted pictures of military equipment. Both of them were imprisoned and held separately.
Of 38 released civilians (34 men, 4 women) interviewed by OHCHR in the mentioned period, 33 individuals reported having various forms of torture or ill-treatment inflicted on them while in detention, in order to force them to confess to having cooperated with the Ukrainian armed forces, to force them to cooperate with Russian armed forces or affiliated armed groups, or simply to intimidate them
When Russia’s full-scale offensive began, Ruslan Zaredinov, a Crimean Tatar and ATO veteran, lived with his family in the urban-type village of Novooleksiyivka, Henichesk district, Kherson region, 25km from Chonhar. They were unable to evacuate due to the almost lightning-fast occupation of Kherson region. For five months, the 35-year-old man and his family lived in fear that the Russians would come for Ruslan as it happened to his friends and familiar veterans.
The man could not be found for a long time. His relatives believed in a miracle, but the DNA analysis of the body found later confirmed that Yevhen had been killed between the villages of Kolychivka and Lukashivka. The Russian military struck the bus he was traveling in with an anti-tank guided missile. Iryna, the wife of the murdered man, told ZMINA about the weeks spent hoping that her husband had survived, searching for him, and the circumstances of the Russian war crime.
Yevhen Kostomanov, 59, lived and worked in Mariupol all his life. In March, the man lost his daughter – she was killed as a Russian aerial bomb hit their house – but he managed to survive. Yevhen told ZMINA about the month spent in Mariupol and how he, his wife, and seven-year-old grandson fled the city literally on foot.
At the end of June, a ZMINA journalist visited Shestovytsia together with the Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv experts who document the Russian war crimes of the Russians within Ukraine 5 AM Coalition. The article tells about life in the village during the occupation.
Viktoria Klimtsova, 47, and her elderly mother lived in Bucha until it was liberated from the occupiers. However, at the beginning of April, they left for Cherkasy region as Viktoria had no reason to stay any longer. On March 28, her husband Oleh, who had refused to evacuate not wanting to give an inch of his native land to the Russians, was shot by the Russian military. The woman told ZMINA how her family, together with other residents of a five-story building on Sklozavodska Street, survived the occupation, how they supported the elderly and abandoned animals, and how the Russians massively murdered civilians, including her husband, in the last days of the occupation.
The Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) is constantly updating the statistics of documented violations, as well as bringing charges to the Russian military and government authorities in absentia. However, it is the cases of detained prisoners of war (POW) that have the best prospects in the context of bringing the perpetrators to justice at the domesting level.
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