Russian soldiers gang-raped a 22-year-old Ukrainian mother, sexually abused her husband and tricked the couple into having sex in front of her before raping their four-year-old daughter, a chilling and damning UN report revealed.
The heartbreaking report describes how Russian troops, while occupying a village in the Chernihiv region, also raped an 83-year-old woman in her home in front of her disabled husband.
A 56-year-old woman from a village in the Kyiv region also revealed horrific testimony of how three Russian soldiers broke into her home, two of whom raped her while the third looked on.
These testimonies – and there are many more in the report – show how Russian soldiers have used rape as a weapon of war in the eight months since the barbaric invasion began.
The report also describes how Russian soldiers carried out summary executions — executions without a trial or due process — in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and the Summy regions, with the latest victim being a 14-year-old boy.
In the report, members of the independent international commission of inquiry into Ukraine said they also documented patterns of torture, ill-treatment and unlawful detention committed in areas occupied by Russian forces – all war crimes.
The report details how Russian soldiers raped women and girls in their homes or took them away and raped them in unoccupied apartments – leading some to contemplate suicide.
The heartbreaking report describes how Russian troops, while occupying a village in the Chernihiv region, also raped an 83-year-old woman in her home in front of her disabled husband (file photo of a woman arranging flowers outside a house where a couple became killed in Kyiv)
In many cases, Russian soldiers shot – or threatened to shoot – the women’s husbands as soon as they tried to defend their wives and prevent their rape.
In March this year, two Russian soldiers broke into the home of a young family in the Kyiv region and repeatedly raped a 22-year-old woman before sexually abusing her husband.
The two soldiers then forced the traumatized couple to have sex in front of them.
One of the soldiers then forced the couple’s four-year-old daughter to perform oral sex on him.
“In most cases, these rapes also amounted to torture and cruel or inhumane treatment of the victims and their families who were forced to witness,” the report says.
In another village in the Kyiv region, a Russian soldier broke into a house and tried to drag a 50-year-old woman out of the house. Her husband tried desperately to defend his wife, but the Russian soldier shot him.
The soldier took the woman to a nearby empty house, where he raped her until a military unit from the Russian Armed Forces arrived and took him away, the report said.
Her husband died of his injuries two days later because he could not be taken to the hospital.
In the Chernihiv region, an 83-year-old woman told investigators how she was raped by occupied Russian forces in her home, where her disabled husband was also present.
In the Kyiv region, a 56-year-old woman told investigators how three Russian soldiers broke into her house. Two of them raped her while the third watched.
Before leaving the house, the soldiers stole their food and money.
Weeks later, the woman learned that her husband had been tortured and executed by Russian soldiers.
Russian troops have been accused of slaughtering civilians in the areas they occupied, and the UN now says it has confirmed more than 100 rapes
Rape has been used as a weapon of war in the past – in Bosnia in 1992, in Rwanda in 1994 and in Darfur in 2003, to name a few.
It is also known that Russian soldiers have used rape as a weapon of war in the past. Soviet Red Army soldiers raped an estimated two million German women after the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich at the end of World War II.
The true extent of wartime rapes – and now in Ukraine – will remain unknown as many women remain silent about their experiences for fear of stigma.
A Ukrainian victim who was raped by Russian troops told the commission: “This experience is very shameful for me and I am very scared and intimidated”.
The report states: “The stigma that still surrounds sexual violence requires patience until victims feel safe and adequately cared for to speak out about what happened.”
A psychologist who worked with the Ukrainian survivors said: “All the victims I work with blame themselves for being discovered and raped by perpetrators.”
Systematic mass rape campaigns use forced impregnation as a tool to ethnically cleanse a nation and psychologically traumatize generations of people.
The children born as a result of wartime rape are often themselves stigmatized as becoming a “living reminder of the conflict,” scientists say.
Russia invaded Ukraine back in February, just as Putin ordered what was alleged to be a days-long “military special operation” to overthrow the government.
But now he’s caught up in an eight-month war that’s expected to last for months at least, and he’s suffering tremendous casualties.
The Ukrainian resistance has proved more fierce than almost all observers expected, spurred on by atrocities committed by Russian forces in the occupied territories.
Mass graves containing the bodies of hundreds of civilians were uncovered as early as April, after Putin’s men withdrew from areas around the capital Kyiv.
Survivors of the occupation told how Russian soldiers pursued anyone suspected of collaborating with the government or the military, to interrogate and torture them – some were eventually killed.
Others told how soldiers came to their homes, beat or raped them, stole, and then fled as Ukrainian forces advanced.
Kyiv argues that Moscow is waging a genocidal war aimed at erasing their national identity by murdering innocents, deporting people to Russia and systematically raping them.
Putin denies that his forces are targeting civilians.