Russian Military Violence Against Women in Ukraine


    Islamabad/ Pakistan/ Editor’s Monitoring Desk/ 30 April 2022

    The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova addressed the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and the expert commission, initiated by the OSCE-states in complying with the Moscow Mechanism, requesting to register the war crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine. “Sexual violence in armed conflict is qualified as the war crime and violation of the fundamental humanitarian principles, namely Article 27 of the Geneva Convention”, Denisova stated.

    Liudmyla Denіsova reported on the evidence of brutal cases of rapes committed by the Russian soldiers against the Ukrainian women, men, children, and aged.
    S he pointed out that among the already found war crime victims, carried out by the Russians, there were raped women, whose dead bodies had been burned, killed municipal government representatives, children, elderly, and men. A lot of them had their hands tied behind their backs and signs of tortures, many had been shot in the back of their heads.

    In this regard, she also reported that there are 25 confirmed cases of sexual crimes committed by the Russians against girls and women ranging from 14 to 24 years old only in one town of Bucha near Kyiv.

    These are the most violent rape cases:

    ⦁ An 11-year-old boy was raped in a presence of his mother, while she was tied to a chair. Happened in Bucha.
    ⦁ A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped by 5 Russian soldiers in Bucha.
    ⦁ A 20-years-old girl was gang-raped by 3 Russian soldiers in the town of Irpin (Near Kyiv).

    There are also confirmed cases of sexual crimes carried out against a 16 years old pregnant girl and 78 years old woman in Kherson and Kyiv oblasts. “The Russian invaders sexually abused not only females but males as well”, Denisova pointed out.

    In her statement, Liudmyla Denisova also informed on the testimonies of 15 women, that were among those Ukrainian POWs recently freed from the Russian captivity. According to the commissioner, they were forcibly relocated to Belarus and then to the pre-trial detention facility in Briansk, Russia, where they were exposed to tortures and intimidations.

    “The female POWs were forced to undress completely in a presence of men and to squat. They had their hair cut bald and were constantly interrogated in order to build up morale pressure”, Denisova stated.

    The Commissioner emphasized that these confirmed cases prove once again that the Russian soldiers consciously violate the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.

    Meanwhile, the co-founder of the Ukrainian Women Lawyers Association and writer Larysa Denisenko points out that rape and sexual abuse are war crimes against humanity that don’t have any time limitations. For this reason, it is crucial to involve military prosecutors into the investigation of these crimes committed by the Russian military on the territories already liberated by Ukraine.

    While investigating the rape cases during the war, international courts do not require any medical evaluation in order to confirm female’s testimony. It is important not to leave the victims alone with their pain, so they feel secured and have places to go and tell about the rape.

    “If you are not able to talk about this publicly yet, as soon as you are, the country’s and human rights defenders’ duty is to hear you out, register and send this information to the international criminal courts”, Denisenko explained.

    International human rights advocates have also been declarative of the rapes committed by the Russian military. These atrocities were condemned by the West on the UN Security Council Assembly. Russia denies its responsibility despite the numerous photographs of those civilians killed in the towns and cities Russia has retreated from.

    The Human Rights Watch has published the evidence of crimes of the Russian Army against civilians on the parts of territories of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv oblasts that had been under their control. Among them are rapes, executions and other cases of violence and abuse of non-combatants, committed in the period of 27th of February and 14th of March 2022.

    For instance, on 6th of March 2022, in the Vorzel village (50km from Kyiv) Russian soldiers threw a smoke grenade into a basement and shot a woman and a 14-year- old girl when they ran out of their shelter.

    This was reported to the Human Rights Watch by a man that was in that basement with them. According to him, the woman died of injuries in two days while the girl was killed immediately.

    In this regard, the UN expresses its “deep concern” considering the amount of confirmed rape cases that the Ukrainian women have faced in this armed conflict.

    “Although the UN had not been able to independently verify reports of rape and sexual violence inside Ukraine, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it hasn’t happened. We know very well that conflicts around the world have been accompanied by sexual violence. And we have to be very, very clear that every case of rape is one case too many, even though it might be difficult to quantify them”, Giulia Vallese said, the United Nations Population Fund’s Director  a.i. for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    “We have faced a terrible thing – violence against civilians in areas close to the battlefield. Lots of females are held hostages by the Russians, including 14-year-old girls that are raped by dozens of pro-Russian separatists on daily basis. Their destinies are broken. But we can’t register these crimes, because some of them are already dead”.

    International community has also responded to the Russian atrocities committed in Ukraine. For instance, one of the rallies took place on the Stephansplatz square in Wien on 11th of April. About 60 women of different nationalities participated wearing white skirts with “bloodstains”. They were laying on the ground as to symbolize the victims of sexual abuse carried out by the Russians in Ukraine.

    Another rally occurred in Tallinn, Estonia on 13th of April and was addressed to all the followers of Putin’s regime throughout the world. More than 20 women gathered by the Russian Embassy in order to raise awareness of the violence against the Ukrainian women and children done by the Russian military.

    The rally’s organizers wanted to convey that the Russian soldiers rape and kill innocent women and children in Ukraine, while people supporting this war are accomplices that also support these war crimes and atrocities.

    It is worth mentioning that the mass sexual violence done by the Russian invaders is unfortunately a common practice according to historical data. For instance, Russian soldiers raped German women in a massive way in 1944-1945, when the Red Army was advancing in Nazi Germany. Most of the cases happened on the territories occupied by the Soviets. The estimated number of such crimes ranges from tens of thousands to two million cases. Given the number of abortions in the following months and contemporary medical investigations, assumption is that 100 000 women were raped in Berlin and about 10 000 females died due to unsuccessful abortion.

    The British historian Beevor Antony describes the tragedy as “the biggest phenomenon of mass rapes in history” and concludes that at least 1.4 million women were sexually abused in the East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia alone. According to Natalia Gesse, a military correspondent, “russian soldiers raped each German female ranging from 8 to 80 years old”.

    In Hungary, the Soviet Army command attempted to suppress the sexual crimes beginning from February 1945. Up to that moment there had been thousands of Hungarian women raped by the Red Army soldiers. Separate towns and villages with civil resistance were “given” to them for three days to rape and loot. It is estimated that more than 50 000 women were raped in Budapest alone.

    Sexual abuse continued on till the winter of 1947-1948, when the Soviet occupation was finally limited to guarding checkpoints and camps, which separated them from the civilian population in the area of Soviet occupation of Germany.

    The violence can be explained by the culture shock that the Soviet soldiers were experiencing when faced the higher living standards outside of the USSR.
    Rapists and murderers must be held to account for their atrocities!


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here