Russia's Alleged Slaughter of Ukraine Civilians Laid Bare in Amnesty Report

Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine including unlawful airstrikes and the killing of civilians, Amnesty International has said.

In a report released Friday, the human rights group called for Russian President Vladimir Putin, his military leaders and politicians in Russia to face justice over what happened in a region northwest of Kyiv, during its invasion of Ukraine.

Drawing on interviews with 45 people and a review of evidence, Amnesty documented unlawful airstrikes and extrajudicial killings.

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International's secretary-general, said that the "crimes committed by Russian forces" the organization had documented "includes both unlawful attacks and wilful killings of civilians."

Russia has repeatedly denied it has targeted civilians in the Ukraine war. Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.

Amnesty said at least 40 civilians were killed in "disproportionate and indiscriminate" attacks in Borodyanka, 40 miles northwest of Kyiv, on March 1 and 2, when airstrikes hit eight residential buildings where 600 families lived.

Most died in the buildings' basements where they had sought shelter, while others were killed in their apartments. Vadim Zahrebelny told Amnesty that among the dead were five of his relatives, including his mother and brother.

Vasyl Yaroshenko said he was close to one of the buildings when it was hit by a strike that killed his wife and destroyed their home of 40 years.

Amnesty said no fixed Ukrainian military targets were around the buildings struck, although armed individuals supporting Ukrainian forces reportedly fired on passing Russian military vehicles nearby. Intentional attacks on civilian objects or disproportionate attacks constitute war crimes.

Meanwhile, in Bucha and other towns and villages northwest of the Ukrainian capital, Amnesty documented 22 cases of unlawful killings by Russian forces, most of which were apparent extrajudicial executions.

Bucha was occupied by Russian forces in late February and the aftermath of the withdrawal of Russian forces has sparked global condemnation. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has started an independent investigation into an alleged massacre in the city.

Amnesty said five men were killed in apparent extrajudicial executions in a compound of five buildings in the city between 4 and 19 March.

Meanwhile, Oleksii Sychevky, from the village of Novyi Korohod, told the group his wife and father were killed when the car convoy they were traveling in was fired upon.

"The convoy was all fleeing civilians," he said, "almost all of the cars had kids inside."

Amnesty said there was also evidence of extrajudicial killings in the towns of Andriivka, Zdvyzhivka and Vorzel. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, the group said that commanders, civilian leaders, ministers and Putin should be held "criminally responsible" for war crimes.

"It is vital that all those responsible, including up the chain of command, are brought to justice," said Callamard.

Bucha, Ukraine
This drone image shows freshly dug graves are seen at the cemetery on April 18, 2022 in Bucha, Ukraine. The city northwest of Kyiv was the scene of war crimes carried out by Russian forces, according to an Amnesty International report released on May 6, 2022. Alexey Furman/Getty Images

Update 06/05/22, 6a.m. ET: This article has been updated with further information.