1,376 bodies of those killed during the Russian occupation of regional Kyiv have been discovered, according to the senior law enforcement official for the Kyiv Region, as part of on-going war crimes investigations.

 

The tragic figure for Kyiv represents 70 percent of all recorded Ukrainian civilian deaths in de-occupied territories thus far, according to UN monitoring. The UN said in its most recent update on civilian casualties that overall about 1,985 Ukrainians have been killed by Russian forces during occupation, noting that it only has access to de-occupied zones.

In an interview with Gazeta, a Ukrainian language media outlet, Andrii Niebytov, the Head of the Main Directorate of the National Police of Ukraine in the Kyiv Region, revealed the figures for Kyiv, as well as the status of his officers’ war crimes investigations including the hideous details of Russian atrocities.

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According to Niebytov, 15 mass burial sites and three torture sites have been identified across the Kyiv Region.

Parts of the Kyiv Region to the west, northwest and northeast of Kyiv city were occupied from between late February to early April 2022 when they were liberated by Ukrainian troops. Occupying forces advanced as close as Bucha and Irpin, or 10 kilometers away from the capital city.

During that period, Niebytov described “mass sadism” over the local civilian population.

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“People were kidnapped, tortured, and killed throughout the entire territory... The Russians 
expected being met with flowers, but there was resistance everywhere. The hatred that the
Russians have inside was reflected in [their treatment] of the people under occupation," he said.
 

“They inflicted tortures in different ways: strangled [people] with a car cable, used electric shock, or just beat them. There were certain executioners who used wooden sticks to break people’s joints. We have such testimonies. Sadly, all of this was widespread,” Niebytov said.

After being tortured, victims were usually killed with few managing to escape or survive, Niebytov outlined.

Niebytov confirmed that 38 children from the Kyiv region were killed during Russian occupation, and another 31 injured. The youngest victim was six months old. According to the UN, some 550 Ukrainian children overall have died since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

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“The most atrocious crime is the murder of a person. But still more atrocious is the murder of a child. We witnessed massive killing of children,” Niebytov said.

 

Of the 1,376 discovered bodies, 190 sets of bodily remains remain unidentified. Niebytov said that the police are using sophisticated DNA tracking techniques to discover their identities, including a mobile DNA laboratory donated by American billionaire Howard Buffet. It can produce results within 90 minutes rather than the usual three days.

Additionally, there are 281 people from the Kyiv region who have “disappeared without a trace,” including one of the senior police officer’s local colleagues. Given that many locals were forcibly deported, the police chief is hopeful that some may still be alive, albeit in Russia.

Additionally, as part of the investigation and prosecution process, the National Police of Ukraine have created a database of Russian war crimes.

“This database already consists of more than 200,000 persons,” Niebytov said. “Separately, we are working on procedural justification. The Kyiv region’s police have already collected information on more than 40 Russians, who committed crimes within the region.”

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He also reported that 89 investigations and prosecutions for collaboration with Russian occupiers were started more than a year ago and 15 Russians who did not manage to flee in April 2022 are under arrest.

“The practice of the Second World War shows that there are no expiration dates [for war crimes],” Niebytov said.

 

“As long as we live is as long as we will work. Russian criminals will definitely not have a quiet life,” he said.

 

There are several current initiatives and proposals for the establishment of Special Tribunals for the prosecution of Russian aggression, and to do so is a key element of President Zelensky’s 10-Point Peace Formula to be discussed at a global summit in July.

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