Russian soldiers kept and raped 25 Ukrainian women in basement
Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s official ombudsman for human rights, told the BBC that she has documented multiple cases of rape, torture and abuse by Russian forces in her country
April 14, 2022 6:28am
Updated: April 14, 2022 10:06am
Some of the most horrific stories of war crimes emerging from Ukraine are the alleged rape of civilians by invading Russian soldiers.
Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s official ombudsman for human rights, told the BBC that she has documented multiple cases of rape, torture and abuse by Russian forces in her country.
"About 25 girls and women aged 14 to 24 were systematically raped during the occupation in the basement of one house in Bucha. Nine of them are pregnant," Denisova said of one incident.
"Russian soldiers told them they would rape them to the point where they wouldn't want sexual contact with any man, to prevent them from having Ukrainian children."
Her office is taking calls on support helplines and gathering information through social media, such as Telegram.
"A 25-year-old woman called to tell us her 16-year-old sister was raped in the street in front of her. She said they were screaming 'This will happen to every Nazi prostitute' as they raped her sister," Denisova said, recounting another incident.
Putin has justified the invasion as a “special military action” to oust “neo-Nazis” in the Ukrainian government, despite the fact President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
Denisova said it was difficult to assess the scale of sexual crimes committed by Russian troops.
"It is impossible at the moment because not everyone is willing to tell us what happened to them. The majority of them currently call for psychological support, so we cannot record those as crimes unless they give us their testimony," Denisova said.
The first woman to come forward accusing Russian soldiers of rape was Natalya (a pseudonym), who told The Times of London in late March of how occupying troops had killed her husband and dog before raping her while her son cried nearby.
The International Criminal Court has already opened an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the United Nations voted to remove Russia from its Human Rights Council on Apr. 7 over its targeting and treatment of civilians by Russian troops.