Reports of atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine have spiked calls for war crimes investigations.
A new Reuters report identifies soldiers and military units that were in Bucha before the retreat.
A soldier was identified because his social media handle, Wolf_68, was spray painted inside a house.
A Russian soldier in Bucha while atrocities were being committed left behind a simple clue to his identity: his Instagram handle, spray-painted on a wall inside the home of a Ukrainian civilian.
Reuters reporters spent weeks in Bucha, Ukraine, after Russian forces completed their withdrawal from areas around kyiv last month. They discovered the “Wolf_68” handle inside a house that a resident of Bucha said had been occupied by a group of Russian soldiers.
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Kirill Kryuchkov was identified using the handle, which the outlet said it used variations on its social media accounts. Kryuchkov, from Pskov, Russia, posted videos on Instagram showing Russian soldiers in a bar drinking beer and smoking hookah on April 19.
Two people who knew Kryuchkov confirmed his military unit to Reuters and another confirmed he was in Ukraine. Kryuchkov did not respond to a message from the outlet seeking comment.
When Reuters contacted Kryuchkov’s friend, Vitaly Shcherbakov, he said, “You can write: ‘Fuck the Ukies’.”
Reports of atrocities and potential war crimes poured in from Bucha after the retreat from Kyiv, including the murder and rape of civilians as well as mass graves. Calls for an international investigation into Russia’s war in Ukraine have grown with the alleged perpetrators.
Reuters released its report on Thursday with new details about what happened in Bucha based on interviews with nearly 100 residents, documents left behind by Russian forces, and photographic and video evidence.
The outlet identified specific soldiers and military units that were in Bucha, linking some to specific acts of violence against unarmed civilians.
Russia has dismissed reports of atrocities in Bucha, saying the accounts are false.
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