As the driver weaves between bodies, burning cars and fallen trees, a narrator says, “If you say Russian soldiers are people…” then adds, “just for a general understanding of what’s going on.” passed here”.
Additional video posted to social media on Saturday shows two men driving through the city. They pass abandoned cars, some of which appear to have been stripped for parts. Debris, tires and old anti-tank barriers invade the roads. At one point, as they turn the corner, two badly damaged black cars are visible. The word “STOP” is painted on both in English in large bold white type.
Russian forces have withdrawn from Bucha, a town of 37,000 northwest of Kyiv, and other suburbs of the capital in recent days, leaving a trail of destruction. Russian troops fought for control of Bucha from February 27 – three days after the invasion began – and “relentless shelling” trapped residents in homes and shelters without electricity or gas, according to Human Rights Watch. The fighting swept away the town’s water tower a week later.
Human Rights Watch interviewed residents who described Russian soldiers looting homes and said they heard reports of civilians being shot while trying to get water. A woman said Russian soldiers threatened to shoot her if she tried to retrieve her husband’s body.
Reporters on the ground in Bucha on Saturday said they saw bodies strewn in the streets. The bodies of at least 20 men in civilian clothes lay in a single street, and one had his hands tied, according to journalists from Agence France-Presse reported. The cause of death was not immediately apparent, AFP said, although one body appeared to have a large head wound.
Associated Press reporters counted six bodies of civilians along a street and in the front yard of a house.
AFP described the bodies as showing indications, including waxy skin and dark fingernails, that the people had been dead for at least several days.
Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told the Post by phone that about 270 local residents were buried in two mass graves. He also said around 40 people were lying in the streets but it was difficult to get a count. Some of the bodies had their hands tied or were shot in the back of the neck, he said.
Fedoruk said the bodies would not be touched until security services determined they were not equipped with explosive devices.
“Until the special services give us an answer on whether we can bury them safely according to Christian custom, we cannot handle the bodies,” he said.
Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces of mining civilian bodies and buildings as they retreated from Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs. In a video address to Ukrainians early Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was “mining the whole territory”.
“These are mining houses, mining equipment, even the bodies of people who were killed,” he said.
The Post could not verify these claims.
Asked if the bodies found around Bucha included Russian soldiers, Fedoruk said that “hundreds of Russian soldiers” were “eternally sleeping” in the area and that Ukrainian authorities would contact the families of the soldiers and their relatives to inform them of their death.