Ukrainian woman ‘raped by teenage Russian soldier’ ​​while sheltering at school

A A young Ukrainian woman was allegedly raped and stabbed to death in a vicious attack after the village where she lived was occupied by Russian troops. The allegation comes amid growing concerns over reports of sexual violence as the war enters its second month.

The victim’s mother made a video in which she talks about what happened to her daughter, who was traumatized by her ordeal. Neighbors told the family The Independent separately about the attack and also about what allegedly happened to the Russian soldier accused of carrying it out.

The rape took place in Mala Rohan, a village near Kharkiv in north-eastern Ukraine that was captured by Russian forces on February 25, the day after Vladimir Putin’s invasion began.

The 27-year-old victim, the mother of a five-year-old girl, also suffered stab wounds in the ongoing sexual assault, which began after a drunk Russian soldier broke into a school where people had taken refuge during fierce fighting.

The village was recaptured by Ukrainian forces this week in a counter-offensive to push back Russian forces trying to seize Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which lies just 40km from the Russian border and is believed to be a major gain from Moscow.

The rape of the woman is said to have taken place on the night of March 13th.

The alleged 19-year-old soldier who carried out the attack was subsequently arrested by Russian forces after being identified by locals and disappeared.

A villager who led the arresting soldiers to the suspect, who was billeted at a local house, said two Russian officers told him the rapist would be summarily executed and his family told he had been killed in action.

A wrecked car is seen in a crater after a Russian attack destroyed a house in Kharkiv


“The soldier who did it was a young man, 19 years old. His name was Vladimir. He had been drinking all day before he raped the poor girl. He was out of control. That happened a bit; There didn’t seem to be much discipline among the Russian troops,” said Sergei, 55 The Independent.

“I went to the house where this guy lived with five Russians – most of them were officers. I went in alone and I said to the soldier, ‘You know what this is about, don’t you?’ He gave me his gun. I was in the army; I took out the magazine and then took him to where the other soldiers caught him.”

Sergei, who did not want his last name to be published, continued: “I remember him very well. He was about medium height, fairly well built, dark haired and had tattoos on his neck. He wasn’t aggressive – he looked at me as he was being taken away.

“Some of the officers said the soldier would be shot – it would be out in the woods. There would be no official record. The man’s family would be told he had been killed fighting the Ukrainians.”

Sergei’s account of what happened was confirmed by three other villagers.

Residents of Mala Rohan said the village was “destroyed” by the presence of Russian troops

(Kim Sengupta)

The victim and her family left Mala Rohan the next day. Her mother made a video telling about the attack and its devastating effects on the young woman. The Independent saw the video which is upsetting.

In it, the victim’s mother recounts how a Russian soldier arrived at the school at midnight when about 40 remained of about a hundred people who had originally gathered to shelter from the ongoing bombing raids outside.

The drunk soldier brandished a gun and ordered everyone to kneel and threatened to shoot them, the mother said. He then took the woman’s son and forced him to participate in a window-shopping event with iron bars.

To the relief of the family, the soldier returned with the son half an hour later. But then he grabbed the young woman at gunpoint and dragged her into a room on the second floor of the school while her small child cried in terror.

“I couldn’t sleep all night because I thought he was going to kill her,” the mother said. “She came back at seven in the morning. The soldier had repeatedly raped her. He injected her with something and said it was a painkiller and she wouldn’t feel a thing.

“He raped her and cut her face and neck with a knife. He also cut off some of her hair. My daughter can’t talk about it anymore, she’s so upset by what happened.”

I am Russian myself and I am ashamed of what is happening now. It’s not just that rape that was so bad. They attacked this country for no reason; what happened is wrong

Valentina, a villager from Mala Rohan

Another Mala Rohan resident, Valentina, 65, said: “What happened was awful, really awful. I heard that after the rape, the soldier told other soldiers that the young woman willingly went into the room with him.

“Of course that was a lie. When the Russians accepted it was a lie, they said they were shocked. An officer came and apologized to many people. The family left the poor people as soon as they could.

“I am Russian myself and I am ashamed of what is happening now. It’s not just that rape that was so bad. They attacked this country for no reason; what is happening is wrong.”

Two other villagers, Yulia, 47, and Andrei, 46, who confirmed the reports of the sexual assaults, said the behavior of Russian forces had been mixed.

“Some of them got us food and generally tried to help, but others shot in the air, misbehaved and drank a lot,” Yulia said. “This village was destroyed because of their presence. Because of the many bombing raids we had to spend most of the month underground.

“We don’t know what happened to the soldier who carried out the rape; They said they would shoot him. He could have easily killed that girl and other people at school.”

Firefighters work to put out a fire at a warehouse after it was hit by Russian shelling in Kharkiv


The revelation of the attack in Mala Rohan comes after Ukraine’s chief prosecutor Iryna Venediktova announced that a Russian soldier is wanted in connection with the rape of a woman and the murder of the woman’s husband in Brovary, near Kyiv.

Public figures and human rights groups both in Ukraine and abroad have warned that the actual number of sexual assaults committed by Russian forces is likely to be far higher.

Maria Mezentseva, the Kharkiv MP in Ukraine’s parliament, said last week that there were “many more victims” and that she expected the attacks to come to light. “We will definitely not remain silent,” she said.

Around a dozen people are said to have been killed in the fighting in Mala Rohan. A man was buried by his family in the garden of their house because it was too dangerous to go to the cemetery outside the village.

“His name was Mikhail; he died in the bombing. The family waited several days to see if they could bury him properly. But in the end they had no choice but to dig a grave in the garden,” says Svetoslav Schneider, a neighbor.

“Some families left when they could. I stayed behind and take care of their belongings – not only their homes, but also their pets, their livestock. Hopefully people will come back. But others can settle elsewhere.”

Cars hit the road outside Mala Rohan village

(Kim Sengupta)

Another body, that of a Russian soldier, lay unburied 20 meters from Vasilyi Gregerovich’s home. “They just left him there, him and many others dead, as they retreated in a hurry. They came to this country, fought this stupid war, and some of them died,” he commented.

Mr. Gregerovich said he is staying in Mala Rohan.

“I am 82 years old. What will I do in my time of life? But I can understand if some people who left choose not to return here. We were cut off for more than a month. Bad things have happened here; People will have bad memories that they will try to forget.”

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