Ukraine accused a Russian infantry brigade of massacring civilians. Now, Putin is honoring them for 'mass heroism.'

Ukraine accused a Russian infantry brigade of massacring civilians. Now, Putin is honoring them for 'mass heroism.'
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Volunteers load bodies of civilians killed in Bucha onto a truck to be taken to a morgue for investigation, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
Volunteers load bodies of civilians killed in Bucha onto a truck to be taken to a morgue for investigation, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
  • Ukraine accused Russia's 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of committing war crimes in Bucha.

  • Now, that unit is being given military honors by Putin for "mass heroism and courage."

  • Hundreds of civilians were massacred in Bucha during its weeks-long Russian occupation.

A Russian infantry brigade accused by Ukraine of committing war crimes in Bucha was recently given military honors by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia's 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade was given the honorary title of "Guards," according to a copy of a presidential decree signed by Putin on Monday and shared on Twitter by Financial Times journalist Max Seddon.

Putin said he awarded the troops for "mass heroism and courage, fortitude and courage shown by the personnel of the brigade in combat operations to protect the Fatherland and state interests in armed conflicts."

Ukrainian officials earlier in April accused the same unit of massacring civilians during Russia's weeks-long occupation of the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in an April 3 Facebook post that the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade "committed war crimes" in Bucha — and in nearby Hostomel and Irpin.

Arestovych listed seven other Russian units and sub-units that he accused of war crimes in those three cities.

Russia previously denied it was responsible for the mass killings, but satellite imagery shows bodies throughout the streets during its occupation — refuting the Kremlin's claims that the massacre happened after its troops withdrew.

At least 403 civilian bodies have been found in Bucha since Russian forces retreated a few weeks ago. Many of the victims showed signs of torture and were executed, with scores of corpses dumped into mass graves.

"We were not ready to have so many dead bodies," Bucha's mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said at a press conference last week. Fedoruk also asked a neighboring town to bring hundreds of coffins.

Survivors of Bucha's occupation said Russian troops also looted and destroyed their homes.

Western states have slammed Russia for committing "atrocities" in Bucha, as international organizations pledge to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Russia two weeks ago was suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council, after a US-led push to vote on the action, following the discoveries in Bucha.

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.

Read the original article on Business Insider