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War and justice

A notice of suspicion has been issued to two Russians. MIHR has learned more about the possible perpetrators

In the United for Justice International Forum in Lviv, First Lady Olena Zelenska talked about the atrocities of the Russian military against an underage girl. “It happened in Kyiv Region.  The invaders raped the girl and her mom; they were beating their father, making him watch that. “Psychological support is being provided to the family,” Mrs. Zelenska said.

First Lady might have talked about one of the crimes in which two Russian snipers are suspected. According to the investigation, they raped several children and women in the Kyiv Region. The victims even included a pregnant woman.  Some victims were raped by the Russian military even twice within a day.  The National Police informed about it and stated that notices of suspicion had been issued to two Russians for the said crimes.   

The journalists of MIHR found the probable war criminals and learned interesting facts about their civil life. 

Rape of a pregnant woman and children

The suspected persons are Yevhen Chornoknyzhnyi and Vadym Shakhmatov, snipers of the 15th Separate Guard Motor Rifle Brigade of the RF Armed Forces.  According to the suspicion, they committed a series of rapes during the occupation of the Baryshivka Urban Village Territorial Community in the Brovary District of Kyiv Region early in March of 2022.

The investigation established that during their raid, the Russians marked for themselves houses with young and attractive women to commit sexual assault against them further.

All the episodes incriminated the suspects took place on March 13. On that day, Chornoknyzhnyi and Shakhmatov, being drunk, broke into four houses, some of which hosted several families at a time.

The first family lived with a little daughter. According to the investigators, using threats to kill, the suspects made the husband stay in a room and took the wife to the kitchen, where they raped her in turns. The notice of suspicion also states that Shakhmatov raped the couple’s little daughter while Chornoknyzhnyi was holding the child’s parents in the kitchen.    

After that, the suspects broke into another house, where two families lived, and one of the women was pregnant. There they committed similar crimes, particularly against one underage girl. As he was threatened to be shot, the elderly owner of the house could not put up resistance against the Russian military. The notice of suspicion states that after a while, the Russians returned to the house and raped the victims again.   

Then they entered other premises. Besides the owners’ couple, several villagers stayed there: they were hiding from shelling in the basement.  Intimidating them with fire from automatic weapons, the Russian military ordered the men to lie facedown on the ground and the elderly women to sit inside and not interfere. Then they separated two local women, a mother and her underage daughter, into two rooms and raped them.

In one of the houses, the Russians got an unexpected rebuff. Intimidating the married couple who resided there, the suspects were aiming their automatic guns at them and shooting in the house, threatening to use the arms if any of their demands is not met.  Then Shakhmatov ordered the woman to go to one of the rooms with him.  However, she disobeyed: she took a kitchen knife and said she would fatally wound him and herself if he attempted to come closer. Having been rebuffed, Chornoknyzhnyi and Shakhmatov left.

“Valiantly defended the Motherland against neo-Nazis” 

According to the police, the suspect, Senior Sniper Yevhen Chornoknyzhnyi, was born in the Orenburg Region. He is 27 years old.

Photo of Chornoknyzhnyi from Russian website Orenburg Media

 To be more exact, Chornoknyzhnyi was 27 when the Russian mass media published the information about the sniper’s death “during the special operation in Ukraine.” It happened on April 15, 2022. 

Russians call the rape suspect a hero. They have put up  a memorial plaque about him with a pompous inscription: “May the short life of Yevhen Chornoknyzhnyi and his exploit be an example of valiance, courage, patriotism, and love for the Motherland to all of us.”

Screenshot from Russian Orenburg Media website

The short life path of the Russian shows that Chornoknyzhnyi got the profession of tractor driver, then went to the army, signed a contract, and became a sniper.  He carried out combat missions in Tajikistan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Syria. He was awarded the Order of Courage by Putin’s decree “for heroism and bravery” post-mortem. 

Together with the Russian officials, the memorial plaque about Chornoknyzhnyi was opened by his cousin, a 9th-grade schoolgirl. 

“Pyatnashka in action”

Vadym Shakhmatov is 31. In the Russian social networks, MIHR found several pages likely to belong to Shakhmatov. The Russian’s first name, last name, and date of birth there coincide completely. The page in VKontakte reveals the photo of Shakhmatov in military uniform and a collage including joint pictures with then-alive Yevhen Chornoknyzhnyi.

Screenshot from Shakhmatov’s page in Odnoklassniki Social Network

The inscription under the collage says: “Pyatnashka in action.” “Pyatnashka” most likely means the 15th Separate Guard Motor Rifle Brigade of the RF Armed Forces, where Shakhmatov serves.

Screenshot from Shakhmatov’s page on VKontakte Social Network

Given the date when the collage was posted, September 21, 2022, Shakhmatov had not been eliminated by that time, and he visits that page in the social network. 

“Are you ready, Natsiks? Pyatnashka is in action,” “common guys serve here, were ain’t f…ng beasts,” “we are from Russia, do you hear, Natsik? Good morning”. These are just some phrases from the song posted under the collage on Shakhmatov’s page, showing his attitude toward Ukrainians.

Judging from his other picture on the page in Odnoklassniki and the page of his wife, Anastasia Shakhmatova (Pastukhova), on VKontakte, Shakhmatov has a little daughter.

Screenshot from Shakhmatova’s page on VKontakte Social Network

As was reported by the General Staff of Ukraine on June 9, 2022, during the hostilities in Ukraine, the personnel of the 15th Separate Guard Motor Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Combined-Arms Army of the Central Military District suffered major losses. There were about 800 killed and nearly 400 wounded.  The total number of military included in the brigade who were taking part in the hostilities in Ukraine was about 1,800. 

According to the latest data, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are already investigating 171 cases of sexual assault committed by the Russian military. Among the victims are also 39 men and 13 minors, including a boy. 


Iryna Domashchenko and Artem Sopov for MIHR

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