Rape, summary executions and unlawful violence are some of the alleged war crimes perpetrated by Russian forces in Ukraine against civilians in the occupied areas of Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on Sunday.
The independent rights group says it has documented allegations of war crimes which “include a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022."
“Soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing, and firewood. Those who carried out these abuses are responsible for war crimes,” it added.
CNN has not independently verified the details of those reports.
Russian forces in Bucha, about 19 miles northwest of Kyiv, “rounded up five men and summarily executed one of them” on March 4, HRW wrote. A witness told the rights group that soldiers forced the men to kneel on the road and pulled their shirts over their heads before shooting one of the men in the back of the head.
Days before, on February 27, six men were rounded up in the village of Staryi Bykiv, in the Chernihiv region, and were later executed, HRW wrote.
In Malaya Rohan, a village in the Kharkiv region, a Russian soldier repeatedly raped a woman in a school where she was sheltering with her family on March 13, the victim told HRW. “She said that he beat her and cut her face, neck, and hair with a knife,” HRW wrote.
The woman fled to Kharkiv the following day, “where she was able to get medical treatment and other services," HRW wrote.
In the village of Vorzel, 31 miles northwest of Kyiv, Russian soldiers “threw a smoke grenade into a basement, then shot a woman and a 14-year-old child as they emerged from the basement, where they had been sheltering,” the rights group added.
“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” Hugh Williamson, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia director said in the statement. “Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes.”
CNN has requested comment from the Russian Ministry of Defense regarding the report.