The Russian military has left gruesome evidence on the streets of Bucha, Ukraine, of how Putin’s badass code applies in combat. The professional soldier becomes a street thug, with the same fight-to-the-finger mentality that Putin learned as a child.
Putin’s whole life converged on the catastrophic war in Ukraine. His messianic, delusional ideas about Russian history merged with the contempt for the laws of war he displayed during the bloody campaign in Chechnya some two decades ago. The Russian leader fabricated arguments for war in Ukraine and lied about his plans, and when he failed to achieve the easy victory he expected, his army appears to have savagely exacted revenge civilians.
Has Putin finally hit a wall in Ukraine? Thanks to courageous Ukrainians and foreign journalists, we are witnessing the butchery produced by his style of warfare – in Bucha, Mariupol, Kharkiv, Trostianets – places most of us had never heard of until recently. a few weeks but which are now written in infamy, alongside Guernica and Srebrenica. “Unbearable” is how French President Emmanuel Macron described the latest footage. “A punch in the stomach,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Putin “is a war criminal,” President Biden has said.
The legal process to hold Putin and his army accountable has begun. The International Criminal Court opened an investigation in early March; Poland has called for an international commission of inquiry; French prosecutors opened three war crimes investigations against French citizens; and the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office mobilized around 50,000 investigators to collect evidence of atrocities. Some of these investigations will continue regardless of the end of the war.
Russia’s response to the horrifying images has been in the character of Putin’s regime: a shameless campaign of lies. Denials of the brutal murder are so cavalier and reflexive that they convey a moral void that should embarrass any decent Russian.
“All those who died in Bucha were some kind of traffic offenders”, affirmed Member of the Russian parliament Oleg Matveichev. Bucha was “a blatantly brutal provocation of the Ukrainian Nazis”, noted Olga Skabeyeva of Russian State Television. The West singled out Bucha for its “blatant accusation against Russia” because the town’s name sounds like the English word for “butcher”. claims talk show host Olesya Loseva.
But the truth about these horrors is confirmed, pixel by pixel. It is a bit of justice that Western social media, which Putin worked so hard to manipulate, is now dissecting Russia’s denials of responsibility for Bucha and other atrocities.
A systematic rebuttal began on Monday with a Publish by Eliot Higgins, founder of the British investigative site Bellingcat. He examined Russian claims that Bucha’s footage showed “signs of video and other forgeries.” Higgins showed that a supposed “moving hand” of a corpse filmed from a car was probably a drop of water moving on the windshield. Likewise, he explained why Russian claims about a moving corpse supposedly reflected in a car rearview mirror are explained by mirror distortion.
And the most devastating for Moscow: commercial satellite images taken in mid-March by Maxar Technologies show corpses in the streets of Bucha while Russian troops occupied the city; they are in exactly the same places reporters found them when they arrived last weekend after Russian troops left. This debunks Russian claims that Bucha’s evidence could be fabricated because it was only discovered after Russian troops left.
What did this war mean for Russian soldiers who followed Putin’s orders to invade their neighbor? A haunting snapshot of an elite unit, the 331st Guards Parachute Regiment, has been broadcast recently by the BBC Marc Urban. This unit – “the best of the best”, boasted a general in a video uploaded last May – was sent to kyiv from its base in Kostroma, northeast of Moscow, in February.
The unit commander was killed in fighting in Ukraine on March 13. Many other high-ranking officers and men died before the unit’s withdrawal last week in Belarus. The BBC identified 39 dead and residents of Kostroma told the UK Network that nearly 100 members of the elite unit had been killed. The BBC reported that up to a third of the 1,500 force members could be dead, injured, missing or taken prisoner.
On a social media memorial wall for Sgt. Sergei Duganov, a Russian woman wrote: “The 331st regiment is disappearing. Almost every day photos of our boys from Kostroma are published. It sends shivers down your spine. What is happening? When will this end? When will people stop dying?
When will Putin’s brutal carnage end? This demand is growing in Russia, Ukraine and around the world.