Ukraine has accused two Russian soldiers of s*xually assaulting a four-year-old girl and gang-raping her mother at gunpoint in front of her father, as part of widespread allegations of abuse during the more than one-year-long invasion.
According to Ukrainian prosecution files seen by Reuters, the incidents were among a spree of s*x crimes Russian soldiers of the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade committed in four homes of Brovary district near the capital Kyiv in March 2022.
Russia’s Defence Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Phone numbers listed for the brigade were out of order. Two officials at the Samara Garrison, of which the Brigade is a part, said they were unable to give contacts for the unit when contacted by Reuters, with one saying they were classified.
During Moscow’s failed push to capture Kyiv after its Feb. 24 invasion, soldiers entered Brovary a few days later, looting and using s*xual violence as a deliberate tactic to terrorize the population, the Ukrainian prosecutors said.
“They singled out the women beforehand, coordinated their actions and their roles,” said the prosecutors, whose 2022 documents were based on interviews with witnesses and survivors.
Most of the alleged atrocities took place on March 13, when soldiers “in a state of alcoholic intoxication, broke into the yard of the house where a young family lived,” the prosecutors alleged.
The father was beaten with a metal pot and then forced to kneel while his wife was gang-raped. One of the soldiers told the four-year-old girl he “will make her a woman” before she was abused, the documents said.
The family survived, though prosecutors said they are investigating additional crimes in the area including murders during the same period.
President Vladimir Putin’s government, which says it is fighting Western-backed “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine, has repeatedly denied allegations of atrocities. It has also denied that its military commanders are aware of s*xual violence by soldiers.
The soldiers were both snipers, aged 32 and 28, the files said, adding that the former had died while the younger, Yevgeniy Chernoknizhniy, returned to Russia.
When Reuters asked for the identities of both soldiers, prosecutors provided only the younger man’s name. “He died. There’s no way you can get hold of him,” said the man, crying. “That’s all that I can say.”
The two snipers were among six suspects accused in the Brovary assaults, which prosecutors say is one of the most extensive investigations of s*xual abuse since the invasion.
After the alleged attack on the girl and her parents, the two soldiers entered the house of an elderly couple next door, where they beat them, prosecutors said, also raping a 41-year-old pregnant woman and a 17-year-old girl.
At another location where several families lived, the soldiers forced everyone into the kitchen and gang-raped a 15-year-old girl and her mother, they said.
All the victims survived, prosecutors said and were receiving psychological and medical assistance.
A pre-trial investigation is ongoing into the possible role of superior officials in the Brovary attacks, prosecutors said, in a case adding to growing allegations of systematic s*xual abuse by Russian soldiers.