Ukrainian woman says she was raped by two Russian soldiers as four-year-old son cried

·3 min read
Pro-Russian troops are pictured in Dokuchaievsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on 28 March 2022 (REUTERS)
Pro-Russian troops are pictured in Dokuchaievsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on 28 March 2022 (REUTERS)

A Ukrainian woman has alleged she was raped by two Russian soldiers earlier this month after one of them shot dead her husband.

Natalya said the crimes took place at her home near Shevchenkove village, located close to Kyiv, on 9 March. Her son was crying in a nearby room while she was repeatedly raped, she added.

The mother and her four-year-old child fled the property when her attackers fell into a drunken sleep. They headed west and are now living in the Ukrainian city of Ternopil.

Last week, Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said the country had launched its first investigation into a rape allegation made against Russian troops. The case in question was brought by Natalya.

Speaking to The Times, Natalya, which is not her real name, discussed the horrors she had experienced. She also told the newspaper how her son is still unaware of his father’s death.

After Russian forces entered the village on 8 March, Natalya and her husband hung a white sheet on their gate to show they were civilians, she said.

Natalya added that the family’s dog was shot dead by one of the soldiers the following morning. Later, a Russian commander, who had leered at her earlier the same day, came to her home with a younger officer she had not seen before.

The 33-year-old said the younger man killed her husband when he went out to see who was causing noise outside.

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)
This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)

The pair then entered the house and ordered her to undress, according to her testimony. One of them then reportedly told her to be quiet or else he would get her son and “show him his mother’s brains spread around the house”.

“He told me to take my clothes off. Then they both raped me one after the other. They didn’t care that my son was in the boiler room crying. They told me to go shut him up and come back. All the time they held the gun by my head and taunted me, saying ‘how do you think she sucks it? Shall we kill her or keep her alive?’”

Natalya said the two men left, before returning to rape her again. They fell asleep on their third visit to the house, she added.

Describing her and her son’s escape, Natalya said: “While I was opening the gate my son was standing next to his father’s body but it was dark and he did not understand it was his father. He said, ‘Will we get shot the same as this man here?’”

Her husband’s body has not been recovered. “We cannot bury him, we can’t get to the village, because the village is still occupied,” Natalya said.

“Memories are hard,” she added. “I don’t know how I will live with all of it but I still understand that my husband built this house for us. I would never be able to bring myself to sell it.”

Natalya’s testimony comes shortly after Maria Mezentseva, a Ukrainian MP, highlighted her case and said Ukraine would “definitely not be silent” about such crimes.

“There are many more victims rather than just this one case which has been made public by the prosecutor general,” the politician told Sky News over the weekend.

Earlier this month, Lesia Vasylenko, another Ukrainian MP, spoke of how many German women were raped by Russian troops in the Second World War. “Russia again is using rape as an instrument of war. This time in Ukraine. History repeats itself,” she said.

Moscow denies that its troops have targeted civilians since it invaded Ukraine last month. However, at least 1,119 civilians have been killed so far, according to the UN.

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