February 3, 2023

In Russian-occupied Kherson, allegations of rape emerge

4 min read

It was mid-March and 16-year-old Dasha was about six months pregnant.

One of the soldiers, about whom Dasha said he was drunk, asked how many rooms there were in the house, and how old the children were.

What happened next is that Ukrainian prosecutors say it is a war crime.

Although the rampant violence around Kyiv embodies the senseless brutality of Russia’s invasion of civilians, the dark and untold stories of their barbarism in small, remote villages like Dasha in the southern Kherson region of Ukraine Are slowly emerging.

Those stories are helping to paint a picture of a Russian army armed with criminal behavior and, in this case, its alleged attack on a minor.

Dasha and her family were taking refuge in their basement before the alleged rape.

Dasha said the children, a 12- and 14-year-old girl, became frightened when they saw the soldiers in their kitchen.

“First, he (the drunken soldier) called my mother into another room. He let her go quickly. Then he called me,” he said.

“When I got in, she was the first to tell me how she saved two people in our village – a mother of two,” he said.

But then the soldier, whom Dasha later learned was from Donetsk and was called “Blue” by other soldiers, became violent.

He started shouting, first he told me to take off my clothes. I told him I would not do it, and he started shouting at me. And he said if he did not take off his clothes he would kill me. Ga, “he told CNN.

At that moment, another soldier entered the room and warned Blue that if he carried out his apparent plan, he would have trouble with the rest of the unit.

Dasha said Blue seemed oblivious to the warning, and his companion told him to return to the unit in just 30 minutes.

When I resisted, he strangled me and said he would kill me. Then he made an unimaginable threat, telling her, “Either you sleep with me now, or I’ll be 20 I will bring people. “

Dasha’s story was interrupted by her crying. Her mother was sitting next to her while she was talking, she was also apparently upset.

“All I can remember is that he had blue eyes, and there was darkness, and I didn’t remember anything,” he said.

The Russian military uses rape as a

Dasha said that after being raped, her perpetrator tried to attack her several times until two Russian snipers intervened to help and took her and her family to another home.

CNN does not identify the victims of sexual abuse and is referring to Dasha by nickname in this case.

There, they told him they had killed Blue, he said. Dasha later found out that this was a lie, when a Russian paratrooper commander called her to talk about her attack in the next village.

But it was not a conversation, he said. Instead, it was a terrible interrogation.

“He (the commander) used some kind of psychological tactic,” Dasha said.

“He started saying the same things the rapist told me, yelling at me and (saying that) he would do what the rapist did. I was so scared, and I started crying.”

After her upset, Dasha said that the commander decided again that she was telling the truth. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

Dasha had heard other Russian soldiers say that her perpetrator had a “criminal past.” He believes he was looking for a target.

“We’re told he’s roaming the village,” Dasha said, “and looking for someone he can call … the ‘girl of simple goodness’, as he said.”

Russian forces have since left the village of Dasha, but the shock of their capture remains.

CNN contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

About a week after the alleged attack, the Russians fled the village.

A report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), released on April 13, identified violations of international humanitarian law by Russian forces in Ukraine, stating that “reports Examples of conflict-related gender-based violence appear, such as rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment. “

CNN could not independently verify Dasha’s troubling account, but Ukrainian prosecutors in the Kherson region said in a statement that they had investigated her account.

In a statement, the prosecution said, “Based on the victim’s testimony and the results of numerous investigations, it was established in early March 2022 during the occupation of a village where there was no military facility for Ukrainian troops.” There were war crimes against civilians, including the rape of a minor in the village. “

The prosecution declined to provide further details, citing privacy concerns.

As parts of the country try to rebuild, the trauma of the Russian occupation has terrorized communities in the south. Its barbarism is visible on the streets, buildings and houses. But for survivors like Dasha, the trauma of this occupation will last a long time below the surface.

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