The Mayor of Bucha, Ukraine, Speaks of the Real Devastation of the “Slaughterhouse City | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Mayor of Bucha, Ukraine, Speaks of the Real Devastation of the “Slaughterhouse City

Nonfiction writer Takehide Mizutani's report on the "Ukraine War

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Mayor of Bucha in an independent interview

Since the Russian army began to withdraw from Bucha at the end of March, the barbaric acts of the massacre have been revealed one after another. The city, which has a population of 40,000 and is about a 30-minute drive west of the capital, Kiew, is now moving toward recovery. However, the wounds of the bereaved families who lost their husbands and children have not healed.

The Ukrainian authorities have released the names and mug shots of 10 Russian soldiers suspected of involvement in the massacre, and investigations are underway. Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk, 49, who has stayed in Bucha since it was occupied by Russian troops, gave an exclusive interview.

He said, “I saw bodies all over the street. We saw more than 20 such bodies, including a man who was left for a long time with his hands tied. I also saw a body that had been eaten by a dog.

The mayor himself witnessed the bodies of civilians on March 31. The location was near the intersection of Yablunska and Vogzalna streets in a residential area about 1 km south of Bucha station.

According to the mayor, as of May 2, there were 416 bodies found in Bucha. Of these, 90% had gunshot wounds. Males were slightly more numerous than females, and children were also included.

The victims were not killed by shrapnel or explosions from artillery fire, but were clearly premeditated murders by the Russian military.

As one piece of evidence of the Russian military’s premeditation, the mayor confided this experience.

The Russian officers came to my house. I happened to be at home at the time. The officer took two documents out of his pocket and asked me to identify myself. The documents listed names and included my name. They were not handwritten documents; they were pre-printed.”

The two documents the mayor saw are believed to be a list of assassination targets. The mayor also revealed at a press conference held on April 12 at the media center in Kieu that he had been in contact with Russian forces in Bucha.

On April 18, President Vladimir Putin gave a “Medal of Honor” to the Russian military unit allegedly involved in the massacre in Bucha. The fact that a murderer was considered a hero caused a huge stir worldwide, and the mayor expressed his feelings about this.

I don’t want to talk about it emotionally. What is certain is that the Russian soldiers who invaded Bucha were not acting of their own volition, but were following the political orders of the Russian federal government. If President Putin awarded them a title for their barbarism, it was only in recognition of the fact that the political leadership of the government of the Russian Federation and the Russian military gave them a mission and the soldiers (stationed at the scene) carried out that mission.”

The mayor then noted the need to consider the reasons why civilians were massacred at Bucha, and said, in light of the historical context of past wars: “The massacre [at Bucha] was a result of the political leadership of the Russian Federation and the Russian military,” he said.

The reason for the massacre [in Bucha] can be explained by one thing: the Russian ‘orcs’ were responsible for the war. The reason for the massacre [at Bucha] can be explained by one thing: the historical fact that the ‘orcs’ in the Russian army have escaped responsibility for the war.

Orcs” are fictional human-like monsters, and in Ukraine, Russian soldiers are often derided as “orcs.

In previous wars along the Russian border, Russian troops have escaped responsibility for war crimes. These include the first Chechnya (1994-96), the second Chechnya (1999-2009), the South Ossetia conflict (2008), and the war since 2014, when the Crimean peninsula was annexed. But the Russian military was not held responsible for the war. We will not allow that to happen in this war in Ukraine. We will absolutely put the soldiers who committed the massacres and the political leadership of the Russian Federation on military trial.”

The mayor’s anger was directed not only at the Russian military, but also at Russian civilians.

The anger of the Ukrainian people, including myself, is not only against the Russian military,” he said. The anger of the Ukrainian people, including myself, is not only against the Russian military, because statistics show that 84% of the people in Russia support the war in Ukraine. In other words, they support war crimes. How on earth should we treat the Russian people? This negative sentiment will not go away anytime soon.”

On May 13, the first trial for war crimes committed by Russian soldiers was held in the capital city of Kiev. This is the first trial since the Russian military invasion. Ukrainian prosecutors are currently investigating more than 11,000 cases of suspected war crimes committed by Russian troops.

City Hall in Bucha
Mass burial at a church in Bucha in early April
  • Interview, text, and photographs Nonfiction writer, Takehide Mizutani

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