Ukrainian mayor ‘executed with her husband’ as Russia ‘abducts 11 community leaders’

The mayor’s husband was reportedly found dead with his hands behind his back

Holly Bancroft
Monday 04 April 2022 13:56 BST
A local resident walks near an apartment building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine
A local resident walks near an apartment building destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine (REUTERS)

Russian troops shot dead the mayor of Motyzhyn, a town 30 miles west of Kyiv, along with her husband and son, according to claims from local residents.

The bodies were reportedly thrown into a pit in a pine forest behind houses where Russian forces had slept, The Associated Press said.

The mayor’s husband had his hands behind his back, with a piece of rope nearby, and a piece of plastic wrapped around his eyes like a blindfold, the news agency reported.

Journalists found four bodies inside the pit, all of whom seemed to have been shot at close range.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that the mayor, Olga Sukhenko, had been killed while being held by Russian forces.

A woman cries while waiting along with others for distribution of food products in the village of Motyzhyn, Ukraine (AP)
Residents of the village of Motyzhyn, which was until recently under the control of the Russian military (AP)

She added in a video message posted on her Telegram account that eleven other local community leaders across the country have been kidnapped by the Russian army.

Speaking on Sunday, Ms Vereshchuk said: “Up to today, 11 heads of local communities in the regions of Kyiv, Kherson, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Donetsk are in captivity.

“We are informing the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN, all possible organisations, just like for the other civilians who have disappeared.”

Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday that the discovery of civilians’ bodies in Bucha and Irpin, some with their hands tied behind their backs, should be classified as a genocide.

Mr Morawiecki said Russia’s invasion was “pure evil” and supported the establishment of an international commission to investigate Russian crimes committed in Ukraine.

People react as they gather close to a mass grave in the town of Bucha, just northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv (AFP via Getty Images)

French president Emmanuel Macron said there were “clear indications of war crimes” in Bucha, and called for further sanctions on Russia.

The Ukrainian government has accused Russia’s armed forces of carrying out a “genocide”.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said: “[The] Bucha massacre was deliberate. We are still gathering and looking for bodies, but the number has already gone into the hundreds.

“Dead bodies lie on the streets. They killed civilians while staying there and when they were leaving these villages and towns.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in