The mayor of a Ukrainian village was kidnapped, executed, and dumped in a shallow grave alongside her husband and son — as disturbing satellite images showed a 45-foot-long trench where a mass grave was dug in neighboring Bucha after killings widely decried as “genocide.”
This all as the Russians claim that the horrific images of the brutality in Bucha seen in person by Western journalists and caught on satellite imagery are fakes.
Olga Sukhenk, the mayor of Motyzhyn — a suburban village just outside the capital, Kyiv — and her family were believed to have been kidnapped by invading Russian troops on Mar. 23, Ukrainian officials said.
The troops then “tortured and murdered the whole family of the village head,” said Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry.
“The occupiers suspected they were collaborating with our military, giving us locations of where to target our artillery.
“These scum tortured, slaughtered, and killed the whole family,” he said, naming Sukhenko, her husband, Ihor Sukhenko, and their son, Oleksandr.
A Reuters reporter saw the bodies in a shallow grave in a forest near a farm, which had been all but destroyed, just outside Motyzhyn.
One of those buried in the sand had his head taped. A fourth body — an unidentified man who appeared to have been tied up — was seen in a well near the burned-out farm, where black burn marks climbed up its few remaining walls, the Reuters reporter said.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed the mayor’s murder, saying she had been among 11 mayors and community heads taken into Russian captivity across Ukraine.
They were among the bodies of at least 410 civilians who have been removed from Kyiv-area towns in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called a “genocide.’’
On Monday, Apr. 4, satellite images emerged of a 45-foot-long trench dug into the grounds of a Ukrainian church where a mass grave was found about 20 miles from Motyzhyn in the Kyiv suburb Bucha, where shocking scenes emerged of bodies left in the street.
The images were shared by Maxar Technologies, which collects and publishes satellite imagery of Ukraine. However, Russian propagandists claim that the massacre was “staged” by Ukrainian armed forces and foreign media outlets. Among the “evidence” used in the purported debunk are claims that a dead body can allegedly be seen “moving an arm,” while another appears to “sit up” after the car with the camera operator passes by.
The same post also claims, seemingly in self-contradiction, that the Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled the town after Russian troops left, “which could also have resulted in civilian deaths.” It shares a short clip, supposedly showing the aftermath of “Ukrainian shelling” of Bucha. The video features no actual footage of the shelling.
President Zelensky toured the area Monday, saying that “dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured.”
“What you see around, what they did to this modern town, is a characteristic of the Russian military, who treated people worse than animals. These are war crimes, and this will be recognized by the world as genocide,” Zelensky said, Ukrainian outlet UNIAN reported.