A group of Ukrainian activists have claimed to have identified the Russian commander who led a military unit accused of committing war crimes in Bucha, the kyiv suburb where mass graves and dead civilians were discovered last week.
InformNapalm claimed in a statement on Twitter and Telegram that 40-year-old Lt. Col. Azatbek Omurbekov led the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, which Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has charged with war crimes.
The military commander, who has been dubbed ‘Bucha’s butcher’ by several media outlets, was blessed by an Orthodox priest in November last year, reports The temperature newspaper.
InformNapalm called the commander a “military villain” and shared his personal information, including his home address, email address and phone number.
The Independent could not verify the authenticity of the activist group’s claims. There has also been no official statement on the Russian commander issued by Ukrainian or Russian authorities to date.
“History shows that we fight most of our battles with our souls,” the commander said after the service by The temperature.
The service had been led by an Orthodox priest, the Bishop of Khabarovsk.
“Weapons are not the most important thing. Church is a place where we can commune and prepare for events to come,” he said.
“With the blessing of the Almighty, we hope to achieve the same things our ancestors did.”
Mr. Omurbekov was awarded a medal for outstanding service in 2014 by Dmitry Bulgakov, Russian Deputy Defense Minister, The temperature reported.
More and more evidence emerged from Bucha of large-scale atrocities, as hundreds of civilian bodies were recovered.
Many bodies were found in mass graves, while others were left to rot in bags or out in the open on city streets.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier described the Bucha scene as evidence of “genocide” and “war crimes”, with corpses having been “found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured”.
Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukrainian Defense Minister, called Russia’s alleged actions in Bucha “completely inhumane” and compared them to the Nazis, The temperature reported.
On Monday, satellite images revealed a 45-foot-long trench at Bucha, the site of a mass grave.
Russia dismissed the war crimes charges at Bucha as “false allegations”, while Moscow state media aired shows exposing the charges as a hoax.
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