Butcher of Bucha identified as behind civilian massacres
Posted On April 6, 2022
Human rights activists in Ukraine have claimed a Russian army officer, known as the ‘Butcher of Bucha’, commanded the unit behind the massacre of hundreds of civilians.
Lieutenant-Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov was identified by InformNapalm, a Ukrainian group that monitors Russia’s military and intelligence agencies.
Over the past few days, grisly images of what appeared to be intentional killings of civilians carried out by Russian forces in Bucha and other towns before they withdrew from the outskirts of Kyiv have caused a global outcry and led Western nations to expel scores of Moscow’s diplomats and propose further sanctions, including a ban on coal imports from Russia.
The Ukrainian activists described Lt-Colonel Omurbekov as the “military villain” behind the Bucha massacre.
They claimed he commanded the Russian army’s 64th Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade, blamed by Ukrainian government officials online for “committing war crimes” in Bucha.
Lt-Colonel Omurbekov, a decorated officer, was blessed by the Russian Orthodox Church last November before his deployment to Ukraine, The Times newspaper in the UK reports.
“History shows that we fight most of our battles with our souls,” he reportedly said following the service,
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the Russians of gruesome atrocities in Ukraine and told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that those responsible should immediately be brought up on war crimes charges in front of a tribunal like the one established at Nuremberg after World War II.
Mr Zelenskyy, speaking via video from Ukraine to UN diplomats, said that civilians had been tortured, shot in the back of the head, thrown down wells, blown up with grenades in their apartments and crushed to death by tanks while in cars.
“They cut off limbs, cut their throats. Women were raped and killed in front of their children,” he said. He asserted that people’s tongues were pulled out “only because their aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them.”
Mr Zelenskyy said that both those who carried out the killings and those who gave the orders “must be brought to justice immediately for war crimes” in front of a tribunal similar to what was used in postwar Germany.
Moscow’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said that while Bucha was under Russian control, “not a single local person has suffered from any violent action.” Reiterating what the Kremlin has contended for days, he said that video footage of bodies in the streets was “a crude forgery” staged by the Ukrainians.
Associated Press journalists in Bucha have counted dozens of corpses in civilian clothes and interviewed Ukrainians who told of witnessing atrocities. Also, high-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies showed that many of the bodies had been lying in the open for weeks, during the time that Russian forces were in the town.