The two videos show Russian paratroopers leading several men with aimed weapons through the street of the city of Bucha on the outskirts of Kiev. Some of these Ukrainian prisoners are crouched, holding on to the belts of those who go before them. Others have their hands over their heads. According to local testimonies and footage obtained by The New York Times, Russian soldiers shot at least eight men on March 4, apparently committing war crimes. Videos from security cameras and also shot by a witness in one of the neighboring houses are the clearest evidence so far that these eight men were in Russian captivity before the shooting. “The hostages are lying there, opposite the fence,” says the author of the video, in which the soldiers forced the prisoners to lie down, including one man in a well-recognizable bright blue sweatshirt. The video will end at this point. But eight witnesses described the NYT as to what happened next. The soldiers took these men as a nearby office building, which the Russians took control of, and made it their temporary base. There were shots. The prisoners have not returned. New evidence The video created from the drone a day later, on March 5, is the first visual evidence to confirm the witnesses’ statement. It shows the dead lying on the ground next to the office building, where two Russian soldiers are standing guard. A flash of the bright blue sweatshirt of one of the prisoners can be seen between the bodies. The photographs of the bodies of the shot men lying in the yard, some of whom had their hands tied, were one of the images that attracted international attention after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Buč in early April. Russian leaders have repeatedly denied that their soldiers have committed iniquity in Bukh, declaring the photos coming from the city provocations and hoaxes. However, the NYT’s several-week investigation has yielded new evidence – including three videos – that Russian paratroopers had gathered and shot targeted men at the court, directly indicating that they had committed war crimes. Russia’s foreign and defense ministries did not want to comment on the NYT’s findings. NYT reporters spent weeks in Buk, asking survivors, witnesses, coroners, police and military personnel. Reporters have put together previously unpublished footage of the incident – one of the few pieces of evidence that the victims’ recent movements can be traced. The NYT also identified all the men shot. They were spouses, fathers, self-service workers or local factories who lived like normal citizens before the war. But after limiting the possibility of leaving the country after the start of the war and determined to protect their surroundings, most of these men joined the various defense forces just days before the Russians killed them. Almost all of them lived within walking distance of the courtyard, where their lying bodies were found. Not only soldiers but also commanders can be prosecuted. The shooting of captured men in Buč is “the second incident that could be a powerful case in the prosecution of war crimes,” said Stephen Rapp, a former United States war crimes commissioner. The Russians disarmed and detained the prisoners, so from the point of view of martial law they no longer took part in the fighting. In addition to the soldiers who shot the man, their commanders could be prosecuted if it was proven that they knew about the incident and did not prevent it, or if the soldiers were not subsequently punished for it, Rapp added. The shot men stopped calling their loved ones on March 4, and their brothers, wives, mothers and friends began looking for them. However, Russian troops patrolled the streets of Buče, so relatives turned to the Internet and asked for any information on social networks. The men’s bodies, meanwhile, were still lying in that yard. When the Russians fled about a month later, the images of the bodies of the shot men gained the attention of the whole world and families who were looking for any clues on the Internet. One of the women who was looking for her husband then just edited her Facebook message, in which she asked for information about her husband a few weeks ago. “You don’t have to look anymore. We found him,” The New York Times wrote.
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