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Bucha Killings: Man ‘Survived Executions By Faking Dead’

Survivors are increasingly relaying their memories of life under Russian domination, as they come to grips with what they saw.

One person has described how he escaped gunshots in the Ukrainian village of Bucha by feigning dead after being shot.

The village just outside of Kyiv has been the setting for suspected war crimes, causing Boris Johnson to produce a video statement in Russian saying: “They are a stain on the honour of Russia itself.”

Russia has rejected reports of mass executions after the town was taken from their grip on 31 March, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei saying film and photographs of victims in the streets were “manufactured” and Ukrainians had used “fake dead bodies”.

However, satellite photography of the region in the days before Bucha was liberated reveals at least nine bodies lying in the roadway for weeks, contradicting Russian statements.

Survivors are increasingly relaying their memories of life under Russian domination, as they come to grips with what they saw.

One guy, Vanya Skyba, was among eight men who came under Russian fire at a checkpoint on 5 March, before seeking to find cover in a neighbouring basement.

He told the Economist when they were caught later that evening; they were questioned if they were military or had ever fought in Donbas.

“We answered no. We were builders,” Skyba remarked.

“But they moved us to a base on Yablonska street 144. They made us take our clothes off, lie face down, and then they inspected our smartphones and bodies for symbols and tattoos.”

He added that to create an example and make the other men talk, one man was slain.

The violent tactic worked, and one guy revealed he was a part of Ukraine’s territorial defences.

At some point, Skyba claims, the guys were assaulted and tormented for hours before the order to murder them was delivered.

Playing dead was what saved Skyba’s life, according to the Economist’s interview with him.

Skyba assumed the Russian soldiers were from Buryatia, in eastern Siberia, based on their accents and looks.

Skyba claims that the individual who gave the order to murder had a Russian accent.

It was only after a bullet went through Skyba’s torso that he was able to get out of the building.

When he heard the troops had left, he fled to a neighbouring house, pretending to be dead until he heard them again.

It is only “the tip of the iceberg,” according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, that proof of civilian fatalities in Bucha is true.

Later, another squad of Russian soldiers discovered him, but they accepted his narrative that he owned the house and took him to a bomb shelter in the basement of the same building where he was shot.

When humanitarian corridors opened, Skyba was able to retreat to Kyiv with women and children.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday that the proof of civilian deaths in Bucha is merely the “tip of the iceberg” and shows the necessity for stronger sanctions against Moscow.

Russia is being investigated for suspected war crimes in Ukraine after photographs from Bucha showed the remains of citizens lying on the ground and makeshift graves.

Aimen Bukhari
Written By

Works at The Truth International Magazine. My area of interest includes international relations, peace & conflict studies, qualitative & quantitative research in social sciences, and world politics. Reach@ aimen.bukhari@tti.org.pk

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