Serhii Lahovskyi sobs hysterically next to the shrouded body of his closest boyhood buddy, who vanished when Russian soldiers captured the Ukrainian village of Bucha near Kyiv and was discovered shot through the skull and left in a stairway.
Igor Litvinenko had been shot in the mouth at close range, his eyes hazy and partly open, black and scarlet streaks of blood caked on his face and snaking down to his lips from an exit hole that split his skull. Just days before his 30th birthday, he was discovered by locals.
His nose were packed with dried blood clots. He also had large red welts on his body, which Lahovskyi believes were the consequence of a beating. He was thrown in alongside another man who had been discovered maimed. According to his wife and several neighbors, the guy who had been mutilated had been kidnapped by Russian forces who had invaded Ukraine.
The details of their accounts cannot be independently verified by Reuters.
When Litvinenko vanished, he was on his way to his mother’s house to deliver her lunch.
“What made these creatures shoot him so viciously?” On Tuesday, Lahovskyi remarked, his eyes wide and inflamed, that they had been closest friends since they were knee-high, indicating with his hand. “This isn’t Russia; it’s a monster,” says the narrator.
“In a nutshell, that’s all there is to it. What is the purpose of it? Please tell me.”
He and other inhabitants of a housing complex in the devastated town of Bucha, where Reuters has discovered a trail of extrajudicial executions since Russian soldiers withdrew last week, grabbed shovels and dug a small grave on a grass verge near one apartment block.
They then carried the remains in the ditch on a carpet, folded it over him and burying him with wooden planks before dumping soil on top.
Urii Churachenko, a local locksmith and odd-job worker, bent down after digging the grave and placed two cigarettes in the dirt as a tribute for his comrade, panting heavily and shaking his head in disbelief.
“I’ve known him since I was a kid,” he explained. “We have been through it all together. He is a coworker and a brother-in-arms of ours. Allow them to perish in hell. That is all there is to it.”
According to Reuters, at least four people were shot in the head in Bucha, one of whom had his wrists tied behind his back.
Several more people have been killed, some with bullets in their eyes and one who was beaten to death and maimed, according to locals.
Officials claim to have discovered more than 300 bodies so far.
Ukrainian officials claim that Russia has committed genocide and have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate.
The charges are dismissed by the Kremlin as propaganda. On Tuesday, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council that Russian forces do not target civilians, rejecting allegations of mistreatment as falsehoods. “Not a single citizen suffered any type of violence” when Bucha was under Russian authority, he claimed.
Liudmyla Verhinska sobbed in Bucha as she described how she discovered her 32-year-old son had been shot in the eye. He was a member of the anti-terrorism squad and is now buried near the housing complex in another little area of grass.
“He had only gone to take out the garbage when he was fatally shot. “I discovered him after seven days,” she claimed. “And now I discovered his companion… I’m not sure what more to say.”