The hands of one man are tied behind his back with a piece of white cloth. Another man lies alone, tangled up in a bicycle by a grassy bank. A third man lies in the middle of the road, near the charred remains of a burned-out car.
The town of Bucha has endured five weeks of near-constant firefights. Now officials and rights groups are blaming the civilian deaths on the departed Russian forces.
“Corpses of executed people still line the Yabluska street in Bucha. Their hands are tied behind their backs with white ‘civilian’ rags, they were shot in the back of their heads. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they perpetrated here,” Bucha mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk told Reuters on Saturday.
Ukrainian adviser President Oleksiy Arestovych on Sunday said reports emerging from towns in the Kyiv region revealed a “post-apocalyptic picture” of life under Russian occupation.
“This is a special appeal aimed at drawing the world’s attention to those war crimes, crimes against humanity, which were committed by Russian troops in Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel,” Arestovych said. “These are liberated cities, a picture from horror movies, a post-apocalyptic picture.”
“Victims of these war crimes have already been found, including raped women who they tried to burn, local government officials killed, children killed, elderly people killed, men killed, many of them with tied hands, traces of torture and shot in the back of the head. Robberies, attempts to take gold, valuables, carpets, washing machines. It, of course, will be taken into account by the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine and law enforcement agencies and international criminal courts.”
CNN has not been able to independently confirm the details around the men’s deaths. CNN has requested comment from the Russian defense ministry regarding allegations of the execution of civilians in the Kyiv region and other parts of Ukraine.
The evidence of apparent atrocities in Bucha came as Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced it had documented allegations of war crimes in the occupied areas of the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv regions.
The rights group said Sunday that the allegations include “a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022.”
In Bucha, Russian forces “rounded up five men and summarily executed one of them” on March 4, HRW wrote. A witness told the rights group that soldiers forced the men to kneel on the road and pulled their shirts over their heads, before shooting one of the men in the back of the head.
HRW also alleges that on February 27, six men were rounded up in the village of Staryi Bykiv in the Chernihiv region and later executed.
In Malaya Rohan, a village in the Kharkiv region, a Russian soldier repeatedly raped a woman in a school where she was sheltering with her family on March 13, the victim told HRW. “She said that he beat her and cut her face, neck, and hair with a knife,” HRW wrote. The woman fled to Kharkiv the following day, “where she was able to get medical treatment and other services.”
And in the village of Vorzel, 31 miles northwest of Kyiv, Russian soldiers “threw a smoke grenade into a basement, then shot a woman and a 14-year-old child as they emerged from the basement, where they had been sheltering,” HRW said.
“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” Hugh Williamson, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia director said in the statement. “Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes.”
CNN has not independently verified the details of the HRW report, and has requested comment from the Russian defense ministry.
European Union Council President Charles Michel vowed fresh sanctions on Russia, saying he was “shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region #BuchaMassacre,” in a post on Twitter.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, also expressed his shock at “news of atrocities committed by Russian forces.”
“[The] EU assists Ukraine in documenting war crimes. All cases must be pursued, namely by @CIJ_ICJ [the International Court of Justice],” Borrell tweeted Sunday. “The EU will continue strong support to Ukraine.”
CNN’s Tara John and Nathan Hodge reported from Lviv. Jonny Hallam reported from Atlanta. Amy Cassidy in London and James Frater reported from Brussels.