Russian soldiers gang-raped a 22-year-old Ukrainian mother, sexually abused her husband and forced the couple to have sex in front of them before raping their four-year-old daughter, a horrifying and damning UN report has 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 house in front of her physically disabled husband.
A 56-year-old woman from a village in the Kyiv region also revealed in a horrifying testimony how three Russian soldiers broke into her home, where two of them gang-raped her while the third watched.
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 details how Russian soldiers carried out summary executions – executions without trial or due process – in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Summy regions, with the youngest victim being a 14-year-old boy.
In the report, the members of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said they had also documented patterns of torture, ill-treatment and illegal detention committed in areas occupied by Russian armed forces – all of which amount to war crimes.
The report described how Russian soldiers raped women and girls in their homes or took them and raped them in unoccupied homes – prompting some to consider 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 house in front of her physically disabled husband (file photo of a woman arranging flowers outside a house where a couple were killed in Kiev)
In many cases, the Russian soldiers would shoot the women’s husbands dead – or threaten to do so – as soon as they tried to defend their wives and prevent them from being raped.
In March this year, two Russian soldiers burst into the home of a young family in the Kyiv region and raped a 22-year-old woman several times 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 acts of rape also constitute torture and cruel or inhuman treatment of the victims and of relatives who were forced to watch,” the report says.
In another village in the Kyiv region, a Russian soldier entered a home and tried to drag a 50-year-old woman out of the house. Her husband desperately tried to defend his wife, but the Russian soldier shot him dead.
The soldier took the woman to a nearby empty house where he raped her until a Russian military unit arrived and took him away, the report said.
Her husband died two days later from his injuries when he could not be taken to hospital.
In the Chernihiv region, an 83-year-old woman told investigators how she was raped by occupying Russian forces in her house, where her physically disabled husband was also present.
In the Kyiv region, a 56-year-old woman told investigators how three Russian soldiers broke into her home. Two of them gang-raped her while the third watched.
Before leaving the house, the soldiers stole food and money from her.
The woman learned weeks later that her husband had been tortured and executed by Russian soldiers.
Russian troops have been accused of slaughtering civilians in areas they occupy, and the UN now says it has verified more than 100 rapes
Rape has historically been used as a weapon of war – in Bosnia in 1992, Rwanda in 1994 and Darfur in 2003 to name just a few cases.
Russian soldiers have also been known to use 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 rape during wartime – and now in Ukraine – will continue to remain unknown as many women remain silent about their experiences for fear of being stigmatised.
A Ukrainian victim who had been raped by Russian troops told the Commission: ‘This experience is very shameful for me and I am extremely scared and intimidated’.
The report says: ‘The stigma that continues to surround sexual violence requires patience until victims feel safe and adequately looked after to speak out about what happened.’
A psychologist who has worked with the Ukrainian survivors said: ‘All the victims I work with blame themselves for being discovered by perpetrators and being raped.’
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 this wartime rape are often themselves stigmatized as they become a ‘living reminder of the conflict’, academics say.
Russia invaded Ukraine back in February when Putin ordered what was supposed to be a days-long ‘special military operation’ to topple the government.
But he now finds himself in an eight-month war that looks set to continue for at least months longer, suffering heavy casualties.
The Ukrainian resistance has proven tougher than almost all observers expected, fueled by atrocities committed by Russian troops in occupied territories.
Back in April, after Putin’s men withdrew from areas around the capital Kiev, mass graves containing the bodies of hundreds of civilians were uncovered.
Survivors of the occupation told how Russian soldiers hunted down anyone suspected of working with the government or the military to interrogate and torture – some were ultimately killed.
Others told how soldiers came to their homes, beat or raped them, stole and then fled as Ukrainian forces advanced.
Kyiv claims that Moscow is waging a genocidal war aimed at erasing their national identity by murdering innocents, deporting people to Russia and systematic rapes.
Putin denies that his armed forces deliberately attack civilians.