Rape, unlawful violence and summary executions are a few of the alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops against Ukrainians in the besieged areas of the war-hit country, according to documents of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), a global and independent organization that explores and reports crimes against civilians and minorities. 

In a statement on Sunday, the human rights group said that it has documented several war crimes in the occupied Ukrainian regions of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv, including “a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022.”

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“Soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing, and firewood. Those who carried out these abuses are responsible for war crimes,” it added. 

In Bucha, a city about 19 miles northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Russian forces “rounded up five men and summarily executed one of them” on March 4, according to HRW. 

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A witness told the independent organization that Russian soldiers forced civilian men to sit on their knees and pull their shirts over their heads before firing a shot at the back of a man’s head. 

A few days before that, six men were lined up in Staryi Bykiv, a village in Chernihiv, and were executed on February 27, HRW wrote in the statement.

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In the village of Malaya Rohan, a Russian soldier repeatedly raped a woman on March 13 in a school where she had sought shelter with her family. The victim revealed the details of the crime to HRW and added that “he beat her and cut her face, neck, and hair with a knife.”

The next day, the anonymous woman escaped to Kharkiv “where she was able to get medical treatment and other services,” HRW wrote. 

“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” Hugh Williamson, the organization’s Europe and Central Asia director said in the statement. 

“Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes,” Williamson added.