Prosecutors in Kharkiv Oblast have opened 10 criminal proceedings over war crimes committed in the Vovchansk territorial community. Among the crimes committed by the Russians are the murders of people with disabilities, executions for disobedience, detainment of civilians, and executions during evacuation. These are the testimonies of victims and eyewitnesses, and it is impossible to investigate crimes on the ground, as part of Vovchansk remains under occupation, Dmytro Chubenko, a spokesperson for the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office, told Slidstvo.Info.

For a month now, the Russian military has been shelling Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast and abusing the local population. The regional prosecutor’s office has opened 10 criminal proceedings regarding war crimes on the territory of the municipality, said Dmytro Chubenko, a spokesman for the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office.

The facts of war crimes committed by the Russians in Vovchansk, which are being investigated by prosecutors in Kharkiv Oblast, include the illegal detainment of civilians. For several days, the Russian occupation forces did not let the locals out of the basement and forced them to provide medical care to the Russian military. There is no exact information on how many civilians remain in the occupied territory of the Vovchansk community, said Dmytro Chubenko. Most of them are elderly people who did not want to evacuate or could not do so.

“People decided to stay in these settlements. Probably, a certain number of civilians are now either in captivity or under the rule of the occupation forces. There is also no exact information on whether these people are in the villages or have been taken to the territory of the Russian Federation. We do not know exactly what the occupiers’ further motives are: to use these civilians for exchange, manipulation, or to create some kind of information campaign that people were ‘expecting’ the Russian military. We also do not know the exact number of such people,” said the spokesman for the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the prosecutor’s office, two people with disabilities have been killed in Vovchansk. One woman was trying to evacuate in a wheelchair. Her body was captured on drone footage. Another, during the evacuation, was inside a car with her wheelchair attached to the top.

In the first days of the Russian army’s offensive against Vovchansk, volunteers helped evacuate the locals. One of the cars with two volunteers inside was fusilladed by the Russians. According to the prosecutor’s office, one man was killed by the Russians, and the other may have been taken prisoner.

“Criminal proceedings have been opened for violation of the laws and customs of war (Article 438, paragraph 2, of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) regarding the shooting of the car with the volunteers. The investigation is ongoing,” said Chubenko.

Due to the ongoing hostilities in Vovchansk, the prosecutor’s office is unable to capture faces or obtain information about the Russian military. Currently, there are no personal charges to the Russian military for the offensive on Vovchansk.

Slidstvo.Info journalists have identified the alleged perpetrators of the civilian killings and destruction of Vovchansk. As soon as the Russian military began to storm Vovchansk, Russian military blogger Semyon Pegov came to shoot a propaganda video, which showed the faces of the occupiers. In addition to Ramzan Kadyrov’s units, the occupiers from the 272nd Motorized Rifle Regiment and the Russian Guard are fighting in the Vovchansk sector, according to the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War. Slidstvo.Info has learned from the Ukrainian military that the occupiers from the 138th Motorized Rifle Brigade are also being captured. The journalists managed to identify three Russian soldiers who left their geolocation enabled in one of the messengers while they were in Vovchansk.

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