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Ukraine war: Photos from Irpin suggest MORE Russian war crimes against civilians

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The bodies of at least thirteen dead civilians have today been found along a highway out of Kiev after they were left behind by retreating Russian soldiers – who booby trapped other corpses.

It is the same stretch of road where Russian soldiers were caught on video executing a Russian couple in aerial drone footage that shocked the world at the start of March.

And as Western journalists accompany advancing Ukrainian troops near Kyiv, they are uncovering more evidence of war crimes carried out by Putin’s soldiers – with the mayor of one city claiming 300 civilians were killed in the last month. 

Pictures from Irpin Friday showed soldiers and volunteers carrying body bags down a ruined stretch of road. About a dozen bodies were zipped up in black plastic body bags, lined up on the concrete and loaded into vans.

The commuter suburb northwest of Kyiv that had been one of the main battlegrounds for weeks, is now firmly back in Ukrainian hands, a wasteland littered with burnt-out tanks. Now that Ukraine’s forces have pushed Russia out of the region, work has been able to begin to collect the dead.

Only now is the true scale of the devastation in the city being realised.

According to Olena Halushka – a member of an anti-corruption group in Ukraine – some of the bodies were mined by Russian forces before they retreated, creating treacherous booby traps for the recovery workers.

The mayor of Irpin said this week that up to 300 civilians and 50 ‘defenders’ were killed during Russia’s occupation. Up to 50 percent of the city’s buildings and critical infrastructure was damaged, he added.

The city was home to around 60,000 residents before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his attack on Ukraine on February 24. Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn said around 3,500 people had stayed in Irpin, and that officials are still looking for people in hidden in their basements.

He pleaded for the city’s residents not to return home yet, as it is still under fire from Russian artillery.

Nearby, an on-the-ground BBC investigation found 13 bodies strewn along a 200-yard stretch of the E-40 motorway that runs into Kyiv from the west – and about 5 miles south of Irpin. Two were of a young couple who were killed while trying to escape the capital down the highway.

Maksim Iowenko, his wife Ksjena and their six-year-old son were part of a 10-car convoy driving down the road when they came under fire from a Russian tank crew.

Harrowing footage from March 7 showed Maksim stopping the car and getting out with his hands up. Despite the obvious sign of surrender, the Russian troops – hidden in a tree-line along the side of the road – gunned him down in broad daylight. His wife was also killed in the attack.

Ukrainian soldiers collect bodies of civilians killed by the Russian forces at the destroyed bridge in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022

A couple walk past the bodies of civilians killed by Russian shelling before they are transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

A couple walk past the bodies of civilians killed by Russian shelling before they are transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers carry a body of a civilian killed by the Russian forces over the destroyed bridge in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022

Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers carry a body of a civilian killed by the Russian forces over the destroyed bridge in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022

Maksim and his wife (pictured together) were killed in an attack on March 7. Their six-year-old son survived and a friend's mother - who was also in the car when it came under fire from a Russian tank unit - was injured. The Russian soldiers later let them go

Maksim and his wife (pictured together) were killed in an attack on March 7. Their six-year-old son survived and a friend’s mother – who was also in the car when it came under fire from a Russian tank unit – was injured. The Russian soldiers later let them go

The video, filmed by a drone operated by the Ukrainian military’s Bugatti drone unit – who were monitoring the position of the Russian crew at the time – showed his body slump to the floor. 

His wife was also killed in the attack, while their son and an elderly woman – the mother of one of Maksim’s friend who was also in the car – survived. They were later released by the Russian troops, and were found walking back down the road.

According to the BBC, when the woman returned home she told her family that Maksim had been shouting that there was a child in the car when he was killed by the Russian soldiers.

The broadcaster’s correspondents found the car burnt-out and what they believe to be Maksim’s burnt remains, although the footage did not show that it was on fire during the attack. They theorised that the Russian soldiers torched the vehicle to destroy the evidence of the brutal slaughter.

The reporters also said they found other evidence of attempts to destroy bodies. While some were left to rot, others were placed under tyres, with charred clothing. Just two of the bodies found on the same stretch of road wore recognisable Ukrainian military uniforms, the BBC reported.

The slaughtering of civilians, particularly those who do not pose a threat, is considered a war crime under international humanitarian law.

The Bugatti unit has handed its footage over to Kyiv authorities as well as Britain’s Metropolitan Police, whose War Crimes unit is investigating the war in Ukraine in collaboration with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The shocking killing of Maksim and Ksjena happened on a stretch of road between the towns of Mria and Myla (which translate to Dream and Sweetheart in English) that lie about seven miles south of Irpin.

Speaking on Wednesday, Irpin’s mayor Oleksandr Markushyn told reporters: ‘I think about 200 to 300 people have died unfortunately.

Pictured: A man exits the car and immediately raises his hands above his head, turning to face Russian soldiers in a clear show of surrender. It was since revealed that the man was Maksim Iowenko, who was fleeing Kyiv with his wife Ksjena and their six-year-old son as part of a 10-car convoy. They were driving down the road when they came under fire from a Russian tank crew

Pictured: A man exits the car and immediately raises his hands above his head, turning to face Russian soldiers in a clear show of surrender. It was since revealed that the man was Maksim Iowenko, who was fleeing Kyiv with his wife Ksjena and their six-year-old son as part of a 10-car convoy. They were driving down the road when they came under fire from a Russian tank crew

Within seconds he is gunned down in cold blood. Moments later, a gang of solders are seen grabbing the civilian's lifeless body and dragging him away into the trees nearby. A woman and child were also travelling in the car, and were taken captive

Within seconds he is gunned down in cold blood. Moments later, a gang of solders are seen grabbing the civilian’s lifeless body and dragging him away into the trees nearby. A woman and child were also travelling in the car, and were taken captive

The bodies of civilians killed by Russian shelling are seen gathered to be transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

The bodies of civilians killed by Russian shelling are seen gathered to be transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Emergency service members carry the body of a civilian killed by Russian shelling, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Emergency service members carry the body of a civilian killed by Russian shelling, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Bodies of civilians killed by Russian shelling are seen inside a car after they were collected from different locations, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Bodies of civilians killed by Russian shelling are seen inside a car after they were collected from different locations, amid Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

‘Fifty percent of the city is destroyed, including critical infrastructure,’ he added. While Irpin was ‘100 percent’ under Ukrainian control, it is ‘still dangerous’ and still being shelled by Russia, he added.

Ukraine said the commuter town was ‘liberated’ from Russian forces on Monday.

Markushyn said at least 50 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the battle for the town, and around 100 wounded.

‘There are no Russian invaders in the city anymore,’ Markushyn said.

Irpin counted around 60,000 residents before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his attack on Ukraine on February 24. The mayor said around 3,500 people had stayed on and that ‘we are still looking for people in basements.’

Addressing those who fled Irpin, he said: ‘Please don’t return. It is dangerous. I will tell you when we you can return. But in the next month, you won’t be able to return.’

He said Irpin is still being shelled by Russian forces from Bucha, another suburb of the capital Kyiv that is less than six miles away

Ukrainian soldiers carry bodies of civilians killed by the Russian forces over the destroyed bridge in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022

Ukrainian soldiers carry bodies of civilians killed by the Russian forces over the destroyed bridge in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022

A Ukranian policeman walks past a grave of a civilian who was killed at a park called 'Mama park' during the shelling amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine in Irpin, March 31, 2022

A Ukranian policeman walks past a grave of a civilian who was killed at a park called ‘Mama park’ during the shelling amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine in Irpin, March 31, 2022

Pictured: Windows that were broken during the shelling amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, are pictured in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022.

Pictured: Windows that were broken during the shelling amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, are pictured in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022.

Emergency service members carry the body of a civilian killed by Russian shelling to be transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Emergency service members carry the body of a civilian killed by Russian shelling to be transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

A car which was damaged during the shelling, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine is pictured at the house courtyard, in Irpin Ukraine March 31, 2022

A car which was damaged during the shelling, amid Russia’s invasion on Ukraine is pictured at the house courtyard, in Irpin Ukraine March 31, 2022

Russian forces shelled Irpin from the start of the war and it is considered as a key passage onto the Ukrainian capital. A US journalist was killed in the town earlier this month. It has since been closed to the media.

Since Vladimir Putin launched his attack on Ukraine on February 24, there have been frequent reports of suspected war crimes across the country.

Moscow has repeatedly denied that it is targeting, or even attacking, civilians and civilian areas. Evidence, including thousands of photographs and videos as well as eyewitness accounts, prove otherwise.

Russian forces have repeatedly attacked Ukrainian medical facilities, striking at hospitals, ambulances, medics, patients and even newborns. Among the most thoroughly documented strikes was the March 9 bombing of a children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol.

In another attack in the southern port city on March 16, a Russian strike hit a theatre that was being used as a shelter by as many as 1,300 civilians.

Russian shelling has meant officials have not been able to get close enough to the theatre to assess full scale of the destruction, but as many as 300 people are believed to have been killed. 

With every new attack, the public outcry for war crimes prosecutions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, his generals and top Kremlin advisers grows louder.

For a report released by Amnesty International on Friday, researches spoke to civilians in five Ukrainian cities in Ukraine that have come under siege – including Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Amnesty said that Russia’s siege warfare tactics are unlawfully killing civilians in numerous cities. Expert analysis by the group found evidence of the Russian military using cluster munitions and unguided ‘dumb’ bombs in densely-populated civilian areas.

The human rights group collected testimony documenting the medieval tactics – including unlawful indiscriminate attacks, disruption of basic utilities, cuts to communication, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and restrictions over access to medicine and healthcare. 

In an attack on the morning of 4 March, Olesky Stovba, a 41-year-old father, was injured by a cluster munition while buying groceries in the city’s Mala-Danylivka district. 

‘We found some food, and we stood outside the food shop and I heard a great sound,’ he told Amnesty. ‘I turned myself and I saw a lot of little fire. It was the height of my knees, 50 metres from me. I fell down, and my wife too, and I felt something hit my right leg … I pulled down my trousers and saw lots of blood.’ 

Surgeons removed three shrapnel fragments from his groin, calf and foot. Amnesty’s expert weapons analyst found the fragments were from either a 9N210 or 9N235 cluster munition.

A couple hug each other while walking beside a building damaged during the shelling amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022.

A couple hug each other while walking beside a building damaged during the shelling amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers carry a body of a civilian killed by the Russian forces over the destroyed bridge in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 31, 2022

Ukrainian soldiers carry a body of a civilian killed by the Russian forces over the destroyed bridge in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 31, 2022

Emergency service members carry the body of a civilian killed by Russian shelling to be transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Emergency service members carry the body of a civilian killed by Russian shelling to be transferred to a mortuary, after bodies were collected from different locations, amid Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, in Irpin, Ukraine March 31, 2022

A Ukrainian soldier carries a dog saved from under the ruins of houses destroyed by the Russian forces in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022

A Ukrainian soldier carries a dog saved from under the ruins of houses destroyed by the Russian forces in Irpin close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022

A soldier comforts Larysa Kolesnyk, 82, after being evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday

A soldier comforts Larysa Kolesnyk, 82, after being evacuated from Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday

A man from Kharkiv, whose name was kept anonymous to hide his identity that living under the threat of Russian shootings bombs, while helping elderly women out of the rubble of their homes, had become his ‘new reality’.

Once every three days, we boil ice for water. There are 300 people in the shelter. The majority are older, fragile, [they have] asthma, diabetes. There are some who haven’t left the shelter in three weeks,’ the man said.

‘The biggest problem in Saltivka is that the elderly die for lack of medicine, from shock, from a heart attack. It is important to get them in the ground and bury them, it will get warmer soon and they will decompose.’

Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, said:

‘A defining feature of these cruel sieges is Russia’s relentless indiscriminate attacks, which cause utterly devastating harm over time For five weeks now, civilians across Ukraine have seen their cities razed day by day.

‘Our on-the-ground research has documented how some of Ukraine’s most at-risk people are disproportionately suffering as these brutal siege tactics continue. Civilians trapped in cities under siege must urgently have access to humanitarian corridors to enable the safe evacuation of all who wish to leave.

‘Humanitarian supplies must also be allowed to reach those who remain behind,’ she said. 

This satellite image distributed by Maxar Technologies shows extensive damage to the Mariupol theater and nearby buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 29, 2022

This satellite image distributed by Maxar Technologies shows extensive damage to the Mariupol theater and nearby buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 29, 2022

Mariana Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Mariana Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022

To convict Russia of carrying out war crimes in Ukraine, prosecutors will need to show that the attacks are not merely accidents or collateral damage.

Military attacks on civilian populations and their property are generally forbidden under international laws governing armed conflicts going back more than a century.

Efforts are already underway by the International Criminal Court in the Hague and Ukrainian prosecutors to compile evidence for future criminal indictments.

Chief ICC prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan announced last month that his agency had opened an investigation after receiving referrals from 39 nations over potential evidence of war crimes committed in Ukraine. 

President Joe Biden has said he believes Putin is a war criminal, and the U.S. government has assessed that members of Russia’s armed forces have committed war crimes. 

Russian forces struck a Red Cross facility in Mariupol but no staff were inside after it was evacuated. Pictured: Holes are seen in the roof of the facility

Russian forces struck a Red Cross facility in Mariupol but no staff were inside after it was evacuated. Pictured: Holes are seen in the roof of the facility 

Local residents walk past an apartment building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 31, 2022

Local residents walk past an apartment building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 31, 2022

As the news of the true devastation in Irpin began to emerge, the Kremlin threatened to walk out of peace talks after accusing Ukrainian helicopters of attacking an oil facility inside Russia.

Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said two of Ukraine’s military helicopters flew 25 miles undetected past the Russian border at low altitude to Belgorod where they fired S-8 rockets at a Roseneft depot, causing a huge fireball to break out which firefighters are still tackling.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: ‘Of course, this is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for the continuation of negotiations.’

But there have been fears that Russia would stage a false flag attack on itself to justify an escalation of the war or to back out of peace talks. 

Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said: ‘I can neither confirm nor reject the claim that Ukraine was involved in this simply because I do not possess all the military information.’

Gladkov, who was appointed by Vladimir Putin in 2020. said the air strike, which would be the first on Russian soil since WWII, injured two workers and parts of the city have been evacuated.  

Video shared on social media appeared to show the attack happening at 5.43am local time, followed by helicopters flying away from the blaze, although analysts have noted Russia uses the same time of helicopters as Ukraine. 

Ukraine’s government is yet to confirm the incident but if true, it would be the second time Ukraine has ventured past the border since the invasion following the alleged long-range missile attack on Millerovo airbase last month, in the latest humiliation for Putin in his flailing campaign. 

But last week, an exiled Russian politician claimed the Kremlin is plotting a wave of attacks on its own cities in a false flag operation led by the FSB that it will blame on Ukraine to justify a general mobilisation of troops.

Ilya Ponomarev, 46, said the Russian security service is preparing to target its own chemical and weapons factories in attacks that could see civilians die.

It comes as Ukraine is making gains within its own borders, recapturing the two strategic villages of Sloboda and Lukashivka on a main supply route, while Putin is continuing to send units back to Belarus and to the Donbas where he is now concentrating his war effort.

As day broke in Belgorod, the oil facility was ablaze, with the fire allegedly sparked by Ukrainian missiles

As day broke in Belgorod, the oil facility was ablaze, with the fire allegedly sparked by Ukrainian missiles

Two people were injured in the Belgorod facility blaze, the Russian governor said, but they were expected to survive

Two people were injured in the Belgorod facility blaze, the Russian governor said, but they were expected to survive 

The oil facility is only 25 miles from the border with Ukraine, and was ablaze on Friday morning

The oil facility is only 25 miles from the border with Ukraine, and was ablaze on Friday morning

There have been fears that Russia would stage a false flag attack on itself to justify an escalation of the war or to back out of peace talks

There have been fears that Russia would stage a false flag attack on itself to justify an escalation of the war or to back out of peace talks

Volodymyr Zelensky warned last night that although Russia is still yet to capture a major city after five weeks of war, Ukraine still faces a difficult challenge.

‘There will be battles ahead. We still need to go down a very difficult path to get everything we want,’ he said.

‘The situation in the south and in the Donbas remains extremely difficult.’

On Tuesday, similar footage emerged of a huge explosion in Belgorod, at the site of a suspected arms depot.

The depot was initially believed to have been hit by a Ukrainian missile. However, analysts later concluded that the blast was likely due to human error, rather than a deliberate attack. 

Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov claimed that the depot was destroyed by an OTR-21 Tochka-U ballistic missile fired by the Ukrainian 19th missile brigade, but his report was not confirmed by Ukrainian officials.

Gladkov, the regional governor, confirmed reports of the explosion and said that no Russian citizens were hurt, but refused to shed any light on the reason for the blast.

‘Explosions were heard on the territory of Belgorod and the Belgorod region,’ Gladkov said.

‘The incident took place near the village of Krasniy Oktyabr. The head of the village is in direct contact with me and has given me all the information. There are no casualties or injuries among the residents.’

‘I’ll post the reason for this later,’ he added.

However, Russian news agency TASS reported that four Russian military personnel were injured and said preliminary reports suggested the explosion was caused by a Ukrainian missile. 

‘The shell hit the territory of a temporary military camp in the Belgorod region. Four servicemen were injured,’ an emergency services source told TASS.   

Revealed: Ukrainian civilian shot dead by Russians in footage that shocked the world was a father who was killed along with his wife as he tried to drive her and his six-year-old son to safety 

According to reports, the man in the video with his hands up was Maksim Iovenko (above), a family man who was attempting to drive his wife and six-year-old son to safety

According to reports, the man in the video with his hands up was Maksim Iovenko (above), a family man who was attempting to drive his wife and six-year-old son to safety

The identity of a Ukrainian civilian who was shot dead in cold blood along with his wife by Russian troops has been revealed.

Drone footage emerged from Ukraine last week appearing to show a group of Russian soldiers executing a lone Ukrainian civilian who was trying to surrender. 

According to reports, the man in the video with his hands up was Maksim Iovenko, a family man who was attempting to drive his wife and six-year-old son to safety.  

His friend, who was also driving in the column, told the BBC: ‘We heard shooting. They started shooting at the column. We all turned back.

‘Later we all stopped and saw that one car was missing. Maksim’s car. In that car, there was Maksim, his wife, their son and my mum.

‘From what [my mum] told me, Maksim was turning back. Maksim got out of the car, raised his hands and started shouting that there were children in the car. And they shot him.’  

Maksim and his wife were killed in the incident, however his son survived and the friend’s mother was injured as the Russian soldiers let them go. 

Maksim’s father, Sergiy Iovenko, described how he still had ‘some hope’ until he saw the video and couldn’t believe it until he touched his son’s body. 

Maksim's father, Sergiy Iovenko, described how he still had 'some hope' until he saw the video and couldn't believe it until he touched his son's body

Maksim’s father, Sergiy Iovenko, described how he still had ‘some hope’ until he saw the video and couldn’t believe it until he touched his son’s body

His friend, who was also driving in the column, told the BBC : 'We heard shooting. They started shooting at the column. We all turned back'

His friend, who was also driving in the column, told the BBC : ‘We heard shooting. They started shooting at the column. We all turned back’

The video, obtained by German broadcaster ZDF and filmed on March 7, shows a silver car driving along the E40 European expressway west of Kyiv

The car was heading towards Kyiv, but upon seeing a Russian tank and a group of soldiers parked by the side of the road, the driver made a rapid U-turn before braking and coming to a stop.

The man exited the car and immediately raised his hands above his head, turning to face the Russian soldiers in a clear show of surrender.

But within seconds he was gunned down in cold blood.

Moments later, a gang of soldiers are seen grabbing the civilian’s lifeless body and dragging him away into the trees nearby.

The drone operator, a member of the Ukrainian territorial defence force in Kyiv, said a woman and child were also travelling in the car and were subsequently taken captive by the Russian forces.  

The slaughtering of civilians, particularly those who do not pose a threat, is considered a war crime under international humanitarian law.

The car is heading towards Kyiv, but upon seeing a Russian tank and a group of soldiers parked by the side of the road (pictured), the driver makes a rapid U-turn, before braking and coming to a stop

The car is heading towards Kyiv, but upon seeing a Russian tank and a group of soldiers parked by the side of the road (pictured), the driver makes a rapid U-turn, before braking and coming to a stop

Yet Russian authorities continue to insist that their forces have only targeted strategic military locations and are not waging war on the civilian population of Ukraine.

The civilian’s execution took place mere yards from another car, which appears to have been abandoned on the road outside a petrol station on the E40 expressway west of Kyiv after sustaining damage.

The silver car was later towed away and burnt according to the Ukrainian drone operator, who gave his name only as ‘Zanoza’ and explained he was tasked with using the Mavic III drone to observe Russian tank positions. 

The shocking incident took place outside the petrol station located a mere 10 miles from the towns of Irpin and Bucha.



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