The murder and rape of civilians was a deliberate policy, says SBU

Last month, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) published yet another intercepted phone call. They recorded a conversation between Russian soldiers about the war crimes they committed, and why.
Maryna Harieieva15 February 2023UA DE EN FR IT RU

Ілюстративне зображення Illustration Russian soldiers, rear view Illustration Immagini illustrative Иллюстративное изображение

Russian soldiers, rear view

An intercepted conversation reveals a Russian soldier admitting he had committed war crimes against the civilian population during his unit’s retreat last October from Lyman, a town in the Donetsk Region. Members of the Russian army deliberately murdered and raped civilians, says the SBU officer who intercepted the conversation:

“We screwed and killed them all (obscenity). While we were surrendering Liman, we cut all their throats (obscenity). Raped them, shot them, and slashed them to pieces (obscenity). In Liman and Torskoe village we shot the lot of them (obscenity). We gathered together all the younger men. And we raped all the young women, stabbing or shooting them to death.”

SBU officers are convinced that this intercepted call could be used at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands as yet more proof of the war crimes deliberately committed by the Russian army.

“The army of the Russian Federation is made up of war criminals and maniacs who delight in tormenting the civilian population of the temporarily occupied territories,” commented Ukraine’s Security Service. “The words of the invaders have been documented and SBU investigators are working to ensure that Russian citizens pay the full price for each of these crimes.”


Last December, we may recall, charges were brought in Ukraine against Olga Bikovskaya, a Russian woman who called on her soldier husband to “rape those Ukrainian women”. Unfortunately, Bikovskaya’s words reflect not only the attitude of a great part of Russian society, but also the policies of the Russian army leadership, which has encouraged rape and used it as a weapon against the civilian population.

This is not the first time an intercepted call has provided evidence of the crimes that Russia’s servicemen have committed in Ukraine. On 5 January 2023, an intercepted conversation was made public in which a Russian soldier called for Ukrainian children to be killed and stated that he was intending to do just that. In another intercepted conversation, in December 2022, referring to a specific Russian regiment, a soldier said that servicemen of the Russian army’s 1st regiment had put a machine gun to the head of an infant and demanded money or petrol.

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