During the seven-month occupation of the village of Davydiv Brid in Kherson region, Russians terrorized the locals – robbed them, took them for interrogation, took away their food, and shelled their houses, accusing the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The journalists of Slidstvo.Info visited the village of Davydiv Brid and found out what war crimes the occupiers committed and what the locals had to endure. The video has English subtitles.
“1200 OCCUPANTS ENTERED ONE SCHOOL ALONE”
According to locals, Russian units entered Davydiv Brid in March 2022.
“There was a lot of noise. It was very scary here. One school alone had 1200 occupiers entering it. They filled everything. I can’t even tell you how many of them were there… It was horrible!” recalls a local resident, Rita, about the first days.
The Russians settled in the school and the house of culture. There are still many bottles of alcohol and ampoules of opioid painkillers at the occupiers’ locations.
“We asked why you came to us. And they said: “To free you from the Nazis”. And I said that we are pure-blooded Russians. We have been living here since 1979. We have never seen anyone harass us. The husband pulls me away: “Shut up. I was already breaking down,” Ryta recalls.
According to locals, in the early days, the occupiers walked the streets with machine guns and checked houses. They were looking for Ukrainian soldiers and their relatives.
“They were looking for young men, taking them away, taking them somewhere, to Kakhovka. A month later they would return. They took our neighbor, Zhenya Voloshyn. What could he have told them? You could tell by his face what had happened to him there,” Rita says.
Tamila, an elderly resident of the village who spent all 7 months under occupation, says that in the first weeks the Russian military did not touch civilians. However, they soon began to rob people.
“My husband was sick. They came to us with machine guns. They took the power generator. They said that their soldiers were trapped. They had to pull them out,” the woman says.
Before that, the occupiers had taken out her neighbor’s refrigerator in front of her eyes. Tamila recalls that they also took food.
Ryta also said that the Russians took from her food that was intended for children: “They would come to me: “Give me a chicken, because my stomach hurts”. Give him potatoes, but I have eight nephews! They took our equipment, took everything they wanted.”
“THEY STARTED SHELLING US HERE”
There is not a single surviving house in Davydiv Brid. Everything was destroyed by shelling, which almost never stopped.
“They (the occupiers – ed.) started shooting at us here and blaming our army. They blamed everything on the Armed Forces. Well, we are not stupid. We saw them coming and shooting,” Ryta says.
The house of 77-year-old Valentyna was hit several times by shells. First, the summer kitchen was smashed, and then the house. The remains are still lying in the yard.
“Everything was thrown away. There is no ceiling anywhere. Everything is wet. I covered the kitchen a little bit. There is only one window left,” Valentyna shows.
Recently, her 98-year-old mother died, whom she told that Russians had come to the village and tried to save her from shelling.
“I said: “Mom, let me cover you, it’s coming. Come on, they are shooting”. And she replied: “Let them shoot. Who is shooting? The Germans?” I said: “Mom, what Germans? Russians came,” Valentyna recalls.
During one of the shellings, 52-year-old Olena, Ryta’s sister, was killed. Another elderly woman was injured by a shell fragment that tore off her arm, but she received first aid in time and was taken to a hospital in Beryslav.
“Olena remained lying there. Two legs were torn off. She bled to death and died. We started looking for locals here, because there was no one to dig the pit… Then some guys we knew came to help. But the shelling started. So we buried her and ran for cover,” Ryta said.
In February of this year, Olena’s body was exhumed. Law enforcement officers are investigating the circumstances of the woman’s death.
“THERE ARE NO ORCS – THANK YOU, LORD!”
The battle for Davydiv Brid lasted for several months. A significant number of Ukrainian defenders laid down their lives for the liberation of this village, but the occupiers also suffered significant losses. On October 4, the Ukrainian Armed Forces completely liberated Davydiv Brid, and the Ukrainian flag flew over the village.
“My husband says that they (transl. – people coming to the village) were so scruffy and didn’t look like orcs. They were our marines! Oh, my God… Our boys were coming!” Tetiana recalls.
“We lived without electricity for 10 months. This is not the main thing for me now. The main thing is that they (Russians – ed.) are not here. People there are worried that there is no civilization. What civilization? If you could see what was happening here… There are no orcs – thank you, God!” the woman says.
Recalling the liberation of the village, Tamila cries. She says she was happy to see Ukrainian defenders.
“I was standing there like a fool, laughing, waving to them… We were happy. We just saw them arrive. Everyone greeted us, we greeted them. Of course, we were glad to see them. You can’t imagine sitting there like that…” Tamila says.
130 CRIMES OF THE OCCUPIERS ARE CURRENTLY UNDER INVESTIGATION
According to the Kherson Regional Prosecutor’s Office, 130 violations of the laws and customs of war in Davydiv Brid involving the occupiers are currently under investigation.
These include the destruction of, damage to property as a result of shelling or its seizure, bodily harm, and deaths of civilians from shelling and mining. No reports of abduction of civilians from Davydiv Brid and their detention have been received by law enforcement at this time.
“In every settlement where the Russian occupiers were located, there were rapes and thefts. The set of crimes is very diverse. What was happening… I don’t want to give any emotional assessment, but these are atrocities. In short, it’s just atrocities,” says prosecutor Roman Gut.
Law enforcement officers paid special attention to the investigation into the shooting of a convoy of civilian vehicles with multiple launch rocket systems.
On May 17, 2022, the Russian military fired with Grad rocket launchers at a convoy of cars that formed at the entrance to Davydiv Brid from Mykolaiv Oblast. People were trying to evacuate from the occupied territory. As a result, 9 Ukrainians were injured, 3 of whom were killed.
WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE WAR CRIMES IN DAVYDIV BRID
Slidstvo.Info journalists have identified some Russian units that were stationed in Davydiv Brid and may have committed crimes against civilians.
These included the 94th Special Forces Regiment of the Russian Guard, Kadyrov’s Sever-Akhmat regiment and Akhmat-1 riot police, the 234th Guards Air Assault Regiment of the 76th Air Assault Division – the “Pskov landing force”, which is already known for crimes in Bucha. And also units that were part of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation.
The Russian army suffered significant losses in the Kherson region. Sergeant Vladimir Barsuk of the Russian Guard was killed in Davydiv Brid.
It is known that he was the deputy commander of the 106th Guards Airborne Division. From 2020 to 2022, he was the commander of the 137th Guards Parachute Regiment.
Major Sergei Popov, a military intelligence officer of the Rosgvardia, was also killed in the village. From 1999 to 2000, he served in a detachment of the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the North Caucasus.
The Russian occupier was a grenade launcher scout. From 2019 to 2022, Popov served as the deputy commander of a special-purpose battalion of the Russian Guard.
According to preliminary data, he was killed on September 25 in a local school where the occupiers were stationed and where the Ukrainian Armed Forces struck. As a result of the explosion, Popov was injured and died of blood loss.
In Davydiv Brid, the Ukrainian military also eliminated the looter Vladislav Dyatlov, a special forces officer of the Russian Guard.
The occupier filmed the looting he was doing in Ukraine with his phone. The footage was posted on social media after his death.