Just weeks into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s Defence Ministry announced on March 15 it had taken full control of Kherson, a strategically important port city in the south of the country. Less than two weeks later, Ukrainian forces retook parts of the area as the Kremlin appeared to have been forced into shifting its approach. This collapse of control did not, however, happen before some Russian troops were accused of horrific crimes, the tales of which are now being told by surviving Ukrainians.
One girl, named Dasha, a pregnant 16 year old, has told of how she was raped by a Russian soldier who ordered her to take off her clothes or he would shoot her dead.
Soldiers had occupied her village, Krasniva, on March 13 when she emerged from her basement to get food, she recounted.
Dasha told Bild: “At first they were completely normal. Then they started drinking. They found vodka among people in the village and drank.
“Then they started looking for young women. Some also grandmothers.”
Dasha, quoted in MailOnline, said she was spotted by soldiers one evening upon leaving the basement where she was hiding with her mother, three brothers and one sister.
The troops, she added, inspected her family and asked their ages before talking to the mother.
When she was released, the 16 year old was taken to another room and reportedly hideously abused.
Dasha described the distressing circumstances that unfolded: “He talked to me and then told me to undress. I told him I’m not going to undress. Then he threatened to shoot me.”
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The drunk soldier attempted to give alcohol to the pregnant girl and seemed about to attempt to undress Dasha again.
By this stage, the sober soldiers returned, insisting they would handle the matter and even shoot the rapist, according to MailOnline.
This did not happen, and when Dasha and her family attempted to escape from the village, they were told they could not because they “know too much”.
They were only able to flee once the area had been recaptured by Ukrainian soldiers.
This is just one of a number of similar stories which illustrate the true darkness of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Executive Director for UN Women Sima Bahous said earlier this week the organisation is “increasingly hearing of rape and sexual violence” in and around the battlegrounds.
She added: “These allegations must be independently investigated to ensure justice and accountability.”