Russian troops using rape as ‘instrument of war’, claims Ukraine’s prosecutor general

Ukrainian MP alleges invading soldiers committing sexual attacks

Rory Sullivan
Friday 25 March 2022 00:00 GMT
War in Ukraine: One month on from Russia's invasion
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Russian troops are allegedly using rape “as an instrument of war”, with the Ukrainian prosecutor general accusing invading soldiers of breaking into a home near Kyiv before shooting dead a Ukrainian man and then sexually assaulting his wife.

Iryna Venediktova said the alleged crime took place in Brovary, one of the capital’s eastern suburbs. She added that the victim’s child was present when the incident happened.

The Independent has been unable to verify these claims.

In social media posts earlier this week, the country’s prosecutor general said the allegation was being investigated by the state, the first time a rape charge has been brought against Russians since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a month ago.

Ms Venediktova did not did not give further details or evidence to back up the claim. As a result, it is unclear when the attack is said to have occurred.

In response to the reports, Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP, said: “Two million people were raped in Germany by Russians during World War Two.

Russia again is using rape as an instrument of war. This time in Ukraine. History repeats itself.”

Accusations of rape were also levelled at the Russian forces by Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier this month.

Speaking via video-link at an event hosted by the Chatham House think tank in London, Mr Kuleba said Moscow’s soldiers had committed sexual crimes in Ukraine.

Lesia Vasylenko (R) walks with Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, in London on 17 March, 2022

When asked whether Mr Putin should stand trial in the future for war crimes, Ukraine’s foreign secretary said: “When bombs fall on your cities, when soldiers rape women in the occupied cities – and we have numerous cases of, unfortunately, when Russian soldiers rape women in Ukrainian cities – it’s difficult of course to speak about the efficiency of international law.”

On Wednesday, the US accused the Kremlin of committing war crimes against Ukrainian civilians. It did not explicitly mention rape, however.

The American secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, said there had been "numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities" committed by Russian troops. He drew particular attention to attacks on the besieged city of Mariupol, which is said to now resemble “the ashes of a dead land”.

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