US sanctions Russian officers who committed war crimes in Bucha, Andriivka

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The U.S. State Department has barred entry to Russian Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov and Guard Corporal Daniil Frolkin over their role in the killings of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha and Andriivka, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Nov. 20.

The officers' actions constitute "gross violations of human rights," Blinken's statement said.

Omurbekov, also known as the "Butcher of Bucha," was the commanding officer of Russia’s 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade at the time Russian forces occupied Andriivka and Bucha, both located in Kyiv Oblast.

Frolkin confessed to killing a civilian in occupied Andriivka in March 2022. The 21-year-old Russian soldier, a member of Omurbekov's brigade, told journalists in August 2022 that he acted on orders from his commander.

After his report, Frolkin received a suspended five-and-a-half-year sentence from a Russian military court for spreading "false information" about the Russian army.

Read also: Uncovering the scope of the Bucha massacre

The 64th brigade marched from Andriivka on to Bucha, where the atrocities mounted. Amid constant bombardments and heavy fighting, Russian forces killed hundreds of civilians in apparent shooting sprees.

When Ukrainian forces liberated Bucha on March 31, 2022, they were met with mass graves, evidence of war crimes, and traumatized survivors.

The U.S. State Department said it had evidence that Omurbekov's brigade "killed, beat, dismembered, burned, and conducted mock executions of civilians" in Bucha.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin awarded Omurbekov the title "Hero of the Russian Federation," the nation's highest honor, in July 2022.

The State Department's designation prohibits Omurbekov, Frolkin, and their immediate family members from entering the United States.

Read also: Wheelchair-bound Bucha resident on surviving Russian occupation: ‘I hope no one will have to live through this’

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