Who was Karina Yershova? Ukrainian woman, 23, 'violently' raped, killed by Russian troops
The remains of a Ukrainian woman, 23, was discovered in a mass grave in Bucha after she was raped, tortured and murdered by Russian troops. Karina Yershova's body was found among hundreds of other corpses in the mass grave. The tragic woman, who was found dumped in Kyiv, had lost her fingernails after possibly trying to fight off her attackers.
“She was shot at point-blank range. Almost half of her head was missing,” Andrii, the woman’s stepfather, told the Telegraph. Yershova disappeared last month. Soon after, her mother, Olena Dereko, took to social media to seek help in finding her daughter. A friend of Dereko later informed her about her daughter's tragic end.
“Friends, terrible news. Racists killed my friend’s daughter Karina Yershova. The pain is terrible,” Olesya Vasylets wrote on Facebook. "She was mocked, raped, and then shot in the trash. Today my mother found out that she was killed and created a help group. Please help me bury, I knew this kid for years, taught her English, she was a very bright and talented girl...."
Yershova's family was told that she had suffered a “violent death” and had “tears and wounds” on her body. “We have not seen the lower part of her body, just the upper part, but what we have seen at the top, we can only imagine what can be on the rest of her body,” Andrii said. "It was like she had been trying to fight."
The skin on Yershova's hands was scorched. Her bones were revealed. Nine of her fingernails had been torn off. She was also found with a tourniquet around her leg after she apparently tried to stop bleeding after being shot.
“I haven’t heard of someone who was violently killed without being raped,” Andrii said. "The people who were killed without being raped seem to have been the ones who were bombed. Those people who were shot and tortured, the soldiers raped them almost every time."
Not much is known about Yershova except that she had been renting an apartment with a friend. She worked as an administrator in a sushi joint and was planning to launch her own business. “When the full-scale invasion started, we asked her to come to Irpin, but she did not realize how serious it was,” Olena said.
Her parents were evacuated from Irpin and relocated to Odessa the day after the invasion was launched. “We asked Karina to evacuate Bucha but she did not think it would be so dangerous,” said the parents. The family was forced to flee from Donetsk when the Russians invaded in 2014. They subsequently traveled to the Kyiv region to start anew. “I saved our child from Donetsk in 2014 but I lost her in 2022 in Kyiv region,” Andrii said. “How can I feel when someone took my only child? I have cried everything I had. I have no tears now," Olena said.
Just days ago, a Russian woman was heard giving permission to her partner, a soldier, to rape locals in Ukraine on a phone call that Kyiv's security services have intercepted. In the chilling 30-second clip posted to the telegram channel of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the woman was heard permitting her partner to rape Ukrainian locals. Last month, a Ukrainian woman claimed that drunk Russian soldiers killed her husband and repeatedly raped her at gunpoint as her four-year-old son cried nearby.
This incident comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy alleged that Russian troops are carrying out 'hundreds of rapes' and also sexually assaulting children. Speaking to Lithuanian lawmakers, Zelenskyy said, "In areas freed from the occupiers, the recording and investigation of war crimes committed by Russia continues. New mass graves are found almost daily. Testimonials are being collected. Thousands and thousands of victims. Hundreds of cases of torture. Bodies continue to be found in drains and cellars. Hundreds of cases of rape have been recorded, including those of young girls and very young children. Even of a baby!"