Russian soldiers gang-raped a 22-year-old Ukrainian mother, sexually abused her husband and made the couple have sex in front of them before raping their four-year-old daughter, a horrifying and damning UN report has revealed.
The heart-wrenching report details how Russian troops, while occupying a village in the Chernihiv region, also raped an 83-year-old woman in her house in front of her physically disabled husband.
A 56-year-old woman, from a village in the Kyiv region, also revealed in horrific testimony of how three Russian soldiers broke into her home, with two of them gang-raping her while the third one watched.
These testimonies – and there are many more within the report – show how Russian soldiers have used rape as a weapon of war in the eight months since the barbaric invasion began.
The report also details how Russian soldiers conducted summary executions – executions without trial or due process – in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and the Summy regions, with the youngest victim being a 14-year-old boy.
In the report, the members of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said they had also documented patterns of torture, ill-treatment and unlawful confinement committed in areas occupied by Russian armed forces – all of which amount to war crimes.
The report detailed how Russian soldiers raped women and girls in their homes or took them and raped them in unoccupied dwellings – leading some to consider committing suicide.
The heart-wrenching report details how Russian troops, while occupying a village in the Chernihiv region, also raped an 83-year-old woman in her house in front of her physically disabled husband (File image of a woman arranging flowers outside a house where a couple were killed in Kyiv)
In many cases, the Russian soldiers would shoot dead the women’s husbands – or threaten to do so – as soon as they tried to defend their wives and stop them from being raped.
In March this year, two Russian soldiers burst into a young family’s home in the Kyiv region and raped a 22-year-old woman several times before sexually abusing her husband.
The two soldiers then forced the traumatised couple to have sex in front of them.
One of the soldiers then forced the couple’s four-year-old daughter to perform oral sex on him.
‘In most cases, these acts of rape also amount to torture and cruel or inhumane treatment for the victims and for relatives who were forced to watch,’ the report says.
In another village in the Kyiv region, a Russian soldier entered a home and tried to drag a 50-year-old woman from the house. Her husband desperately tried to defend his wife, but the Russian soldier shot him.
The soldier took the woman to a nearby empty house where he raped her until a Russian armed forces military unit arrived and took him away, the report says.
Her husband died two days later from his injuries as he could not be taken to hospital.
In the Chernihiv region, an 83-year-old woman told investigators how she was raped by occupied Russian forces in her house where her physically disabled husband was also present.
In the Kyiv region, a 56-year-old women told investigators how three Russian soldiers broke into her home. Two of them gang-raped her while the third one watched.
Before leaving the house, the soldiers stole food and money from her.
The woman learned to weeks later that her husband had been tortured and executed by Russian soldiers.
Russian troops have been accused of butchering civilians in areas they occupy, and the UN now says it has verified more then 100 rapes
Rape has historically been used as a weapon of war – in Bosnia in 1992, Rwanda in 1994 and Darfur in 2003 to name but a few instances.
Russian soldiers have also been known to use rape as a weapon of war in the past. The Soviet Red Army solders raped an estimated two million German women after the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich at the end of the Second World War.
The true scale of wartime rape – and now in Ukraine – will continue to remain unknown as many women remain silent about their experiences for fear of being stigmatised.
One Ukrainian victim, who had been raped by Russian troops, told the Commission: ‘This experience is very shameful for me and I am extremely scared and intimidated’.
The report says: ‘Stigma that continues to surround sexual violence requires patience until victims feel safe and adequately cared for to speak out about what happened.’
One psychologist who has worked with the Ukrainian survivors said: ‘All victims with whom I am working are blaming themselves for being spotted by perpetrators and being raped.’
Systematic mass rape campaigns use forced impregnation as a tool to ethnically cleanse a nation and psychologically traumatize generations of people.
The children born as a result of this wartime rape are often stigmatised themselves as they become a ‘living reminder of the conflict’, academics say.
Russia invaded Ukraine back in February as Putin ordered what was supposed to be a days-long ‘special military operation’ to topple the government.
But he now finds himself bogged down in an eight-month long war that looks set to continue for months longer at least, and suffering huge losses.
Ukrainian resistance has proved fiercer than almost all observers expected, and has been spurred on by atrocities that Russia troops have committed in occupied areas.
Back in April, after Putin’s men withdrew from areas around the capital Kyiv, mass graves containing the bodies of hundreds of civilians were uncovered.
Survivors of the occupation told how Russian soldiers hunted down anyone suspected of working with the government or military to interrogate and torture – some were ultimately killed.
Others told how soldiers came to their homes, beat or raped them, stole, and then fled as Ukraine’s forces advanced.
Kyiv argues that Moscow is fighting a genocidal war aimed at wiping out their national identity by murdering innocents, deporting people into Russia, and systemic rapes.
Putin denies that his armed forces are deliberately targeting civilians.