By Ebi Kesiena
Russian forces have killed a village head, her husband and her son, Ukrainian officials say. 51-year-old Olha Sukhenko, her husband Igor and her son Oleksander, who was 25 was the head of the village.
It is believed that she and her family were killed on suspicion of helping Ukrainian soldiers, and left on the edge of the woods, half-buried, Olha’s hand and her son’s face visible through the dirt.
This and the discovery of the bodies of five men dressed in civilian clothes has added to growing evidence of atrocities on the ground in Ukraine.
In the town of Bucha, just outside Kyiv, the horror of what unfolded during the Russian occupation is finally coming to light.
In the basement of a building that once housed a children’s community centre, five bodies lay crumpled on the ground five men dressed in civilian clothes, their hands bound behind their backs.
Some were shot in the head, others in the chest. They were yet to be identified, but Ukrainian officials said the men were taken hostage by Russian soldiers and executed.
“We heard them being shot,” said Vlad, one of the volunteers who carried the bodies up from the basement. “We heard mines go off in the area. Around us there are mines. We are lucky we are alive.”
Vlad described hearing a husband calling after his wife who went out into the street to get water, then a volley of shots. Later he found both husband and wife dead. “I can tell you so many stories but I don’t want to,” he said. “I want to forget them.”
The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky visited Bucha on Monday. “We want you to show the world what happened here, what the Russian military did, what the Russian Federation did in peaceful Ukraine. It was important for you to see that these were civilians,” he said.
He said Ukraine was still prepared to negotiate with Russia. “Ukraine deserves peace,” he told the BBC. “We can’t live with war. Every day our army is fighting, but we don’t want the lives of millions to be lost. That’s why we have to have dialogue with Russia.”
Elsewhere in Bucha, there were reports of a mass grave, dug to accommodate bodies from the overflowing morgue. Images and video footage showed dead civilians with their hands tied behind their backs. Evidence was mounting by the hour of grave atrocities in this once peaceful city.