292

Hundreds of peaceful families from Bucha suffered at the hands of the occupiers during the month while the Russian invaders ruled the town. According to the National Police of Ukraine, 461 people were killed in Bucha. Hundreds and hundreds more have been tortured and abused by the Russian military.

“Slidstvo.Info” has found out about two families from Bucha who moved under the same roof during the occupation and were bullied by the occupiers. The Russians came to their homes, beat them, and shot them. Fortunately, all of them survived, and when the Russians had fled Kyiv oblast, the victims found their own executioners. The journalists of our agency helped with the identification of these Bucha executioners and later found out that each of them had already received his bullet on the battlefield and returned to Russia in a coffin.

The video has English subtitles.

I Am Unfortunate to Be Living Near the Torture Chamber

After the Russians fled Bucha, dozens of corpses of peaceful Ukrainians were found on Yablunska Street. The bodies laid directly on the road or under the houses. Several headquarters of the Russian occupiers were located on this street.

Hostages Execution Site on Yablunska Street, Where the Russian Headquarters Were Located / Photo: Vadim Ghirda / AP

Yuri and Olesya’s family live in a house near Yablunska Street. During the occupation, their neighbours moved in to support each other and hide from shelling in the basement together. One day the occupiers began to visit them. The elderly were terrorized by several young Russian soldiers.

“There was one sergeant, and the others were young, even younger than my children. Around 19 or 20. I do not know whether they were conscripts or contractors. But these were children. And this sergeant, he was so serious and well-trained. Apparently, they were given some instructions on how to behave,” – Olesya recalls the first visit of the occupiers.

The Russians came to these two Bucha families every few days. They found a video of some destroyed Russian equipment on the phone of one of their neighbours, Oleksiy, so it did not give them peace of mind. In the evening of March 16, the Russians came to their doorstep again.

“We were standing outside, three of them came, they were drunk, really drunk, so much so that they spread their legs shoulder-width apart so as not to fall,” — Olesya recalls.

Юрій та Олеся, які пережили окупацію Бучі

Yuri and Olesya, Who Survived the Occupation of Bucha by the Russian Military

The Russians searched the house, then took the men outside and ordered the women to stay inside. The same sergeant commanded the Russians. He once said that his name was Nikita. He ordered one of the neighbours, Yuri, to kneel, and took the other neighbour with him.

“I was left with a soldier holding a pistol to the back of my head. Nikita ordered him to shoot without warning in case of the slightest movement. That’s how I stayed at the entrance, and Oleksiy was taken to the yard. I heard that Nikita hit Oleksiy several times in the back of the head with a machine gun,” — Yuri recalls.

Soon Yuri was released, and Alexei was forced to take the generator out of his house and take it to the Russian positions. The man was then ordered to flee home and was also fired several shots. Fortunately, the bullets missed the man.

He Stole the Phone, but Forgot to Log Out

One of the Russians, who obeyed Sergeant Nikita and also terrorized these families, stole their phone. But he forgot to log out, so all of his photos and contacts were duplicated on another phone of the owner. Therefore, we were able to identify him by the photos and his phone book.

The occupant who stole the phone is Andrei Ryabchenko, he is 20 years old. He is from the city of Novozybkov, Bryansk oblast. After graduating from school and college he worked as a bartender. Then he joined the army, where he served in the 76th Guards Air Assault Division. As part of this unit, he invaded the territory of Ukraine.

Російський військовий Андрєй Рябченко

Andrei Ryabchenko, the Russian Military

In a few days, the same group of Russians led by Sergeant Nikita came there for the third time. That day, one of the neighbours, Oleksiy, celebrated his 50th birthday. The families cooked some potatoes and bread cakes outside. The occupiers found that out and ordered the neighbours to blindfold Oleksiy. Then they took him to their headquarters, where they mocked the man. After several hours of captivity, Oleksiy was released. The same Sergeant Nikita commanded these actions of the Russian soldiers.

“It seems that he had some kind of psychological trauma, some childish one. He provoked Oleksiy all the time. It all started after he had asked how old was him. Oleksiy answered he was 50. He says, “I am half less, that is 25.” And after that he constantly clung to him with some philosophical questions. He asked about his son and asked us to praise them for being such great liberators. He was looking for some truth or what. But at the same time he was quite tough,” – says Olesya.

After the retreat of the Russians and the release of Bucha, the victims themselves identified Sergeant Nikita. They remembered his name, age, and the number of his military unit. In the list of the 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, published by the Ukrainian intelligence, there was only one sergeant with the same name and age. It was 25-year-old Nikita Akimov. So the journalists of “Slidstvo.Info” only had to identify this sergeant and find his face and personal data on some social networks.

Російський військовий Нікіта Акімов

Nikita Akimov, the Russian Military

25-year-old Nikita Akimov was born and raised in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, which is located 9.5 thousand kilometres from Bucha. For the last few years, he has served in the 64th Brigade in Khabarovsk. Judging by his social networks, he had a wife and children. Akimov also mentioned his children in the conversations between him and the victims.

Oleksiy, whom Nikita Akimov and his subordinates terrorized the most, did not tell journalists about the captivity and the abuse. The man is trying to forget this pain. But he confirmed that the man in the photo is Sergeant Nikita, who took him hostage.

Died Before Their Trials

For the first time, “Slidstvo.Info” spoke with Olesya and Yuri’s family in April. As of that time, the police was only gathering the information about the Bucha genocide and identifying the first suspects. We asked the couple whether they believed in the future punishment of Nikita Akimov and his fellow occupiers.

“We have already read on social media that it was the 64th Brigade, and it is being redeployed again so that there are going to be fewer witnesses. So, maybe they will fertilise our sunflowers again somewhere?” – Olesya asked us.

Olesya’s words seem to have become prophetic. Sergeant Akimov and his unit moved to another section of the front. At the end of April, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that the 64th Khabarovsk Brigade had been moved to Kharkiv oblast after the genocide in Bucha, where active fighting was taking place near Izyum. Sergeant Nikita Akimov was probably killed in that area. On May 12, he was buried in his hometown of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russian local media reported that fact.

Бучанського ката Нікіту Акімова поховали у Росії

Nikita Akimov, the Executioner from Bucha, Was Buried in Russia on May 12, 2022

A few weeks later, the second occupier, 20-year-old Pskov paratrooper Andrei Ryabchenko, who, along with Akimov, terrorized Bucha residents, also died. He was buried in late May, and local media in Bryansk reported that fact.

Sergeant Nikita Akimov was among the first ten suspects in the case of the Executioner from Bucha. In late April, the Ukrainian prosecutors announced their suspicions of war crimes against peaceful Ukrainians.

According to the Ukrainian military, there were various units of the Russian army in Bucha, but the basis of the group was formed out of the 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade from Khabarovsk and the 76th Guards Air Assault Division from Pskov.