Family of 3 found in shallow grave near Bucha

Russian forces have killed a village head, her husband and her son, Ukrainian officials say.

This – and the discovery of the bodies of five men dressed in civilian clothes – has added to growing evidence of atrocities on the ground in Ukraine.

The BBC’s Yogita Limaye has been to the two scenes.

In the town of Bucha, just outside Kyiv, the horror of what unfolded during the Russian occupation was finally coming to light.

In the basement of a building that once housed a children’s community centre, five bodies were found crumpled on the ground – five men dressed in civilian clothes, their hands bound behind their backs.

Some were shot in the head, others in the chest. They were yet to be identified, but Ukrainian officials said the men were taken hostage by Russian soldiers and executed.

“We heard them being shot,” said Vlad, one of the volunteers who carried the bodies up from the basement. “We heard mines go off in the area. Around us were mines. We are lucky we are alive.”

Vlad described hearing a husband calling after his wife who went out into the street to get water, then a volley of shots. Later, he found both husband and wife dead. “I can tell you so many stories but I don’t want to,” he said. “I want to forget them.”

Not far away, in the village of Motoyzhyn, four bodies were also found in a shallow grave in the woods. Three have been identified – 51-year-old Olha Sukhenko, her husband Igor and her son Oleksander, who was 25.

Olha was the head of the village. It was believed that she and her family were killed on suspicion of helping Ukrainian soldiers, and left on the edge of the woods, half-buried, Olha’s hand and her son’s face visible through the dirt.

The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, visited Bucha on Monday. “We want you to show the world what happened here, what the Russian military did, what the Russian Federation did in peaceful Ukraine. It was important for you to see that these were civilians,” he said.

He said Ukraine was still prepared to negotiate with Russia. “Ukraine deserves peace,” he told the BBC. -BBC

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