In Borodianka, the horror of the Russian occupation unfolded



Near her garden shed is the body of a man lying face down with a bag on his head with his hands tied behind his back. His pants were pulled down. There were large bruises on his left leg and a large wound on his head.

Next to his body is a single bullet casing.

“He was executed by a bullet to the head,” a Ukrainian National Police officer said. There are no documents about the man, but authorities at the site say all indications show that he was another civilian casualty in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.

The corpse is one of many recently found in the cities of eastern Kyiv that were occupied by Russian forces.

Borodianka was home to 13,000 people before the war, but most of them fled after the Russian invasion. What was left of the town after intense bombardment and devastating air raids, was then occupied by Russian forces who advanced on 28 February.

Yuri Bumin was still in town when the Russian offensive began.

“The scariest part was when their planes came,” Bomin told CNN. “They were flying over our house and dropping bombs.”

Today, the 33-year-old is cleaning his apartment on the fourth floor. The multi-storey building next to his house has been flattened by a Russian raid, and he is moving the remainder of his property to another house outside the city.

“I can’t stay here,” he said. “It is not safe.”

The Russian occupation, which has been going on for a month, has left devastating imprints on the city.

Not only were they almost completely destroyed by long-range attacks – buildings reduced to piles of rubble – but some of the houses were then used by occupying Russian forces as their barracks.

Yuri Bumin's house in Borodianka, which was destroyed after days of Russian bombing.

Kostychenko and her husband Oleksand fled when the bombing first began, but returned after the town was returned to Ukrainian control on 1 April.

While their house was apparently spared the heavy bombardment that devastated Borodianka, the house was looted from the inside. Clothes and discarded bottles were scattered on the floor. They find their pet bird dead in its cage.

“Alcohol is everywhere, empty bottles in the hallway, under things,” said the 44-year-old. “They (the Russians) smoked a lot, put out cigarettes on the table. They used bed linen as their own.”

Most of the furniture was damaged or destroyed, as was their TV.

“They did whatever they wanted,” Kostichenko said. “Our jewels have been taken away. They are nothing but thieves.”

Nearby shops were looted, windows smashed, contents stolen or scattered on floors.

The unemployment office in Borodianka, defaced with the Russian symbol V.
The letter “V”, which is an abbreviation of Vostok (meaning “East” in Russian) – and a symbol used by the Russian Eastern Military District in coordination with the letter “Z”, an emblem of the so-called “Special Military Operation” in Moscow – – painted buildings, vehicles and checkpoints.

The local unemployment office and city council were fortified and converted into the headquarters of the Russian forces stationed in the town. Both are also covered in V.

Borodianka . was A starting point for Russian units as they advanced into Kyiv through suburbs such as Bucha and Irpin. They encountered stiff resistance by the Ukrainian forces and were forced to retreat.

Remnants of destroyed Russian equipment in dozens of cities and towns are now rubbish around the capitalAnd the Fox holes and artillery positions were left virtually untouched.

The authorities imposed a curfew in the entire Kyiv region until 7 April, and called on residents to stay indoors while they were clearing mines.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians, but volunteers are working with police to retrieve the bodies of civilians killed in the open air.

Volunteers collect the body of a man who was shot while driving in Borodianka, Ukraine.

“We are collecting people who were shot by the Russians. Civilians who were tortured. We have been working for two days,” said Henady Avramenko, 45.

CNN watched Avramenko and his colleague pull the body of a 44-year-old Ukrainian from a car. He was shot in the heart while driving, and his car crashed into a ditch next to the road.

Psychologically, it’s tough,” Avramenko said. “The worst thing is that we don’t find soldiers, only innocents.

“They were killed for no reason,” he added.

Volunteers pick up two more bodies within an hour. One was the charred body of a person who had been hit by a shell, and the other was an elderly man who had been shot while riding his bicycle.

“(Monday) we picked up seven people and (by midday on Tuesday) we got there six,” Avramenko said.

Russian strikes on Borodianka were more intense than in most other areas around the capital Kyiv, as multi-storey buildings were completely raised to the ground.

In and around Borodianka, authorities are only now beginning to comb what remains of most of the buildings, knowing they will continue to find bodies as they do.

Although Putin’s army has withdrawn from their city, Borodianka residents fear that the devastation they have sowed will continue for months, if not years.


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