“Street littered with bodies”: a Ukrainian journalist first at the Bucha massacre
When Russian troops captured the Ukrainian towns of Bucha and Irpin last year they began a brutal assault on local residents who were subjected to mass shootings that evidence suggests constitute war crimes.
That evidence has been collated after both towns were liberated several weeks after Russia invaded, and the apparent horrors committed by Moscow’s forces were seen by the world.
Dmytro Komarov, a Ukrainian journalist was one of the first to arrive at the gruesome scenes after the Russian soldiers retreated. A premiere of his new documentary was broadcast on the war’s anniversary in late February.
„I will never forget when we first drove into Bucha. My brain did not have time to digest the information,” he recalls in his documentary, titled ‘Year’. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The small street was littered with bodies.”
“My duty as a journalist and as a Ukrainian is to document the terrible crimes of the Russians against my people. Show it as it is. That’s why we didn’t turn off the cameras, even when we wanted to close our eyes,” Komarov recalls.
Komarov describes the bleak scenes he witnessed in the towns as “the hardest hour of the year,” which forced him to look “at the horror around me” as his camera rolled capturing the grim reality that confirmed for the journalist that it was not just a terrible dream.
As one of the first journalists to the scene, Komarov’s Documentary footage may provide hard evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. Dmytro calls his documentary „an incredibly emotional project about events, destinies, and decisions that shape Ukrainian history.”
The film crew – which came under fire more than once with Ukraine’s Defense Forces – was the first team authorized to film on the premises on Bankova Street, where Volodymyr Zelenskyi lived throughout the war, and in the classified Combat Command Center.
Dmytro said that in the first months of the war, together with cameramen Serhiy Matsko and Igor Loma, they filmed some of the most important events.
More than four dozen civilians were found shot dead on Yablunska Street in Bucha, as shown in the video. The mayor of Bucha, Anatoly Fedoruk, says that the world already knows most of the killed citizens by name.
“This is 68-year-old Volodymyr Borovchenko, who was riding a bicycle – it is his bicycle that is on the commemorative coin of our city. This is 26-year-old Oleksandr Chumak, who was a veteran and lived in Buchi (…) Were shot together with 38-year-old Dmytro Shkirenkov and 39-year-old Maxim Kireev…” – said the mayor in his telegram channel.
Last October, Fedoruk testified in Germany to the federal police about the war crimes committed by the Russians during the occupation of Bucha – the criminal prosecution authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany and the International Criminal Court (ICC), together with Ukraine and other countries, are investigating Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Ukrainian authorities are conducting investigations and have already compiled evidence of hundreds of war crimes committed by the Russian occupying army. In Bucha alone, 410 bodies were found strewn in the streets and some in mass graves.
Evidence of sexual assault against women and children further highlight some of the inhumane crimes that have been carried out since Russia invaded.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyi features in the documentary that a children’s pogrom in Bucha where minors were murdered represent “the faces of Russia.”
In early April, Zelenskyi himself visited Bucha to witness firsthand the war crimes committed by the Russian army during its occupation. “What’s currently happening in Ukraine is the calculated genocide of the Ukrainian people,” he said.
Edited by Stephen McGrath
Photo source: Dmitro Komarov
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