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Ukrainian investigators find horrifying Russian sexual violence charges

Ukrainian investigators find horrifying Russian sexual violence charges

Ukrainian investigators find horrifying Russian sexual violence charges

Ukrainian investigators find horrifying Russian sexual violence charges

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  • A police officer and prosecutor in Kherson look for sexual crimes.
  • Russia dominated this region until early October.
  • They reported Russian forces carrying Viagra.
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A police officer and prosecutor in Kherson, Ukraine, knock on doors daily.

They search muddy streets and artillery-damaged homes for the missing. The two specialists came from Kyiv.

They go outside. “We are looking for sexual crimes,” says prosecutor Oleksandr Kleshchenko.

Russia dominated this region until early October. Burned automobiles litter fields. The walls have a Russian “Z” sign.

War left terrible scars. UN investigators said Russia used sexual abuse as a “weapon of war” and “military strategy” to conquer Ukraine. They reported Russian forces carrying Viagra.

Russia denies Ukraine war crimes.

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The Kyiv team found six sexual assault complaints in two weeks in Kherson. They say the figure is likely far higher.

Tatiana, 56, claims victimhood. CNN hides her surname name and village to safeguard her identity.

She walks across broken glass to show us her brother’s house, where two Russian soldiers burst in on August 26.

“They walked those rooms,” she says. “One stayed there, while the other, who raped me, came here. He entered, strolled about, and began touching me.”

“I told him, ‘No, no, I am not old enough to give you stuff, look for younger girls.’”

She claims he pinned her against the closet and tore her clothes. “I was crying, begging him to stop, but no luck,” she recalls. “I only wanted to live.”

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She recalls his warning not to tell anyone. “I didn’t inform my spouse immediately away,” she cries. I told my cousin, and my husband heard. He responded, “You should have told me the truth, but you kept mute.”

She was ashamed. “I want him and his family dead.”

She stayed home for three days in a haze, ashamed to leave. She then bravely challenged the Russian soldier’s commander.

“His commander discovered his unit leader. He visited me and said, ‘I punished him hard, I fractured his jaw, but the most painful punishment is ahead.’

Shooting. Do you mind? questioned the commander. “I don’t mind, I wish all of them would be shot.”

The prosecutor, Kleshchenko, and police officer Oleksandr Svidro are searching for sexual crimes, but they encounter the horrors of occupation everywhere they go.

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War ruined most buildings in these liberated villages. Many residences were demolished.

The prosecutor was besieged by food-seekers in Bila Krynytsya on CNN’s first day with the investigators.

Russia never occupied the village. The crowd yells that Russia and Ukraine have ignored them for months.

After a hard day, the two-man squad arrives at Novovoznesens’ke, where they found two more Russian soldier-rape cases. Next day, they present their findings in Kyiv.

Many of these charges are unprovable and have no suspect. The team files reports and investigates, expecting to press charges later.

The UN has investigated allegations of “sexual and gender-based violence” in Ukraine involving 4–82-year-olds. The UN reported 43 criminal proceedings in September.

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Svidro, a police officer, believes most sexual violence goes undetected.

Work exhausts. “Psychologically difficult,” he explains. “Everyone is distressed. This is vital.”

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