Drunk Russian soldiers raped woman for hours after killing husband as son, 4, wept
A Ukrainian woman has claimed that drunk Russian soldiers repeatedly raped her at gunpoint as her four-year-old son cried nearby. The 33-year-old woman used the pseudonym Natalya and said the Russian troops came to her rural home in Kyiv on March 9 even as she had put up a white sheet on her gate “to show there is just a family here and no one wants any harm.” She also said that they shot her husband dead.
Natalya said they had to leave their home with their hands raised after the troops invaded and killed their dog. The unit’s commander, who introduced himself as Mikhail Romanov, seemed drunk as he intentionally crashed her car to ensure she is not able to flee. She heard a gunshot after dark and then saw her husband Andrey, 35, lying on the ground by their front gate. “This younger guy pulled [a] gun to my head and said: ‘I shot your husband because he’s a Nazi,'” she told the Times of London.
Ukraine’s prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova has announced that Natalya's rape is the subject of an official investigation. The couple's four-year-old son, identified by the pseudonym Oleksii, allegedly hid in the boiler room, oblivious of what was happening outside. The soldier who shot Natalya's husband dead allegedly told her, "You’d better shut up or I’ll get your child and show him his mother’s brains spread around the house." "He told me to take my clothes off. Then they both raped me one after the other. They didn’t care that my son was in the boiler room crying," she said. "“All the time they held the gun by my head and taunted me, saying, ‘How do you think she sucks it? Shall we kill her or keep her alive?’”
The two troops left and she thought the ordeal was over. However, they returned 20 minutes later to rape her a final time. Natalya claimed the troops “were so drunk they were barely standing.” She later found her son, terrified, refusing to move. “Eventually both of them fell asleep in the chairs. I crept into the boiler room and told my son we have to run away really fast or we will get shot,” Natalya said. "While I was opening the gate, my son was standing next to his father’s body but it was dark … he did not understand it was his father."
Natalya eventually took her son and made it to the comparative safety of Ternopil, the Ukrainian city where other members of the family were also sheltering. Oleksii still “doesn’t know about his dad,” she said. “Even if we go to the shop, he’s asking me to buy a doughnut for him. ‘Buy a doughnut for Papa,'” she said. “He doesn’t understand much … In the playground here, he goes up to people and says that we had to leave our house because there was war and there were bandits in the house but that Papa stayed behind. He doesn’t know his father is dead."
Natalya grieved saying they cannot even bury her husband. “We can’t get to the village, because the village is still occupied,” she said. “I don’t know how I will live with all of it but I still understand that my husband built this house for us. I would never be able to bring myself to sell it.” Natalya was told that one of her rapists, Romanov, was possibly killed by Ukrainian forces in Brovary. However, she does not "know for sure if it is true.” Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has reportedly said that justice will be sought through the International Criminal Court for reported rapes, which is recognized as a war crime.