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HomeNewsInternational NewsHow Russian soldiers ran a ‘cleansing’ operation in Bucha

How Russian soldiers ran a ‘cleansing’ operation in Bucha

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By ERIKA KINETZ, OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI and VASILISA STEPANENKO

BUCHA, Ukraine (AP) — The first man arrived at 7:27 a.m. Russian soldiers covered his head and marched him up the driveway toward a nondescript office building.

Two minutes later, a pleading, gagged voice pierced the morning stillness. Then the merciless reply: “Talk! Talk, f–ing mother-f–er!”

The women and children came later, gripping hastily packed bags, their pet dogs in tow.

It was a cold, gray morning, March 4 in Bucha, Ukraine. Crows cawed. By nightfall, at least nine men would walk to their deaths at 144 Yablunska street, a building complex that Russians turned into a headquarters and the nerve center of violence that would shock the world.

In this image from March 4, 2022, surveillance video provided by the Ukrainian government, Russian troops lead nine men at gunpoint to their headquarters on Yablunska Street in Bucha, where they would be tortured and executed. The men were picked up as part of what Russian soldiers called “zachistka” – cleansing. They hunted people on lists prepared by their intelligence services and went door to door to identify and neutralize potential threats. (Ukrainian government via AP)
In this image from March 4, 2022, surveillance video provided by the Ukrainian government, Russian troops lead nine men at gunpoint to their headquarters on Yablunska Street in Bucha, where they would be tortured and executed. The men were picked up as part of what Russian soldiers called “zachistka” – cleansing. They hunted people on lists prepared by their intelligence services and went door to door to identify and neutralize potential threats. (Ukrainian government via AP)

Later, when all the bodies were found strewn along the streets and packed in hasty graves, it would be easy to think the carnage was random. Residents asking how this happened would be told to make their peace, because some questions just don’t have answers.

Yet there was a method to the violence.

What happened that day in Bucha was what Russian soldiers on intercepted phone conversations called “zachistka” — cleansing. The Russians hunted people on lists prepared by their intelligence services and went door to door to identify potential threats. Those who didn’t pass this filtration, including volunteer fighters and civilians suspected of assisting Ukrainian troops, were tortured and executed, surveillance video, audio intercepts and interviews show.

Read more.

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