During the occupation of the village of Berezivka in the Kyiv region, a Buryat shot and killed a local resident and, together with another Russian military man, tried to hide the traces of the crime. The victim’s family identified the Russian war criminal, and Slidstvo.Info journalists spoke to him by phone.
This is described in a new video by Slidstvo.Info. The video has English subtitles.
“WE RECEIVED A CALL AND WERE TOLD THAT THERE WAS A WAR”
The village of Berezivka in the Kyiv region was occupied in March 2022. Russians killed locals and shot at cars with people trying to leave the occupation at the beginning of the full-scale invasion.
“We woke up in the morning. We got a call saying there was war. I have a daughter in Kyiv, I told her to go home (to Berezivka – ed.), because we thought it would be safer here,” recalls Tetiana Avdeeva.
Tetiana says that her husband’s parents, sister and friends came to visit them because they all thought it would be better in the village.
Her husband, Vasyl Avdeev, decided to help his fellow villagers with food after the full-scale Russian invasion.
“As soon as it all started, my husband volunteered, even though he has very poor eyesight… He was not given anything – no machine gun, nothing. He used to go to neighbouring villages to the warehouses and deliver food to people,” says Tetiana.
When Vasyl received a phone call saying that a large family had nothing to eat, he didn’t hesitate to pack up the food and go.
“He always helped people a lot. He went to a retirement home in Kyiv… He brought food to the old ladies at Easter to pamper them with something… He went to a nursing home… he tried to help there too,” says Tetiana.
“WE SHOT YOUR HUSBAND”
Vasyl’s daughter Kateryna recalls that two Buryats came to the house. The young woman opened the gate because she heard the voice of a neighbour who came to eat with them.
“I open the gate and see this picture: this Vovka (neighbour — ed.) is standing there, obviously drunk, and he is supported on both sides by two Buryats. And I just somehow close the gate in a second, because I realise that there are many children and women at the house besides me,” says Kateryna.
The girl says she was scared and ran to her mother’s house: “I said: “Mum, something happened to Dad”. I don’t know what exactly, but they came and said that they had shot our man… I realised that every minute it got darker, my father was not coming back and something had happened to him,” Kateryna recalls.
When Vasyl did not return home, Tetiana went looking for her husband herself.
“I searched all night because I thought he had taken a different road. I even looked in the forest. It was a very dark night, to be honest, I don’t remember such a dark night in my life. I also heard that they (Russians — ed.) were shooting and laughing there,” Tetiana recalls.
The woman says she found Vasyl’s car shot up only at five in the morning.
According to the investigation, on 2 March 2022, the Russian military spotted Vasyl’s car and shot at it 21 times in a row without warning.
A witness to those events says that the occupiers pulled the still-living man out of the car, put a tourniquet on his leg and began interrogating him, hitting him in the face with the butt of a rifle.
“They (the Russians — ed.) open the door, pull him (Vasyl — ed.) out, and he starts screaming because he’s hurt. A soldier takes his leg and rewraps it. There are screams, something is being done, two more men run up – they take something out of the car and the trunk. Then… he takes the man, hits him in the face with a rifle butt, he falls down and he (the occupier Sayan Ilyarov — ed.) makes a shot,” says the eyewitness of the murder of Vasyl Avdeev.
The wounded man was unable to answer the Russians’ questions, so Ilyarov shot the unarmed man in the head. After that, together with other Russian servicemen, Ilyarov threw the body of the victim into a sewer well near a petrol station.
“He was found only six months later. We were searching with dogs then… We found other people here… We searched all the sewers. And when it started raining, he floated out in one of the septic tanks,” says Tetiana.
“WHO’S GOING TO JUDGE ME? JUST GO F*CK YOURSELVES”
In March 2023, Slidstvo.Info journalists identified the Buryat who shot and killed unarmed Vasyl Avdeev. Kateryna recognised her father’s killer from the photo.
“Yes, that’s him. This is the person who spoke to me, who said that we shot your man. Of course, he looks a little different now, but it’s him,” she says.
On social media, Sayan Ilyarov is signed as Sayan Tanganov. On his page, you can find many photos of him in military uniform, and judging by his photos, in 2014, Ilyarov joined the navy.
On 21 July 2022, the Russian military posted a photo with his “colleagues” online. It seems that this photo was taken during the occupation of the Kyiv region. However, Sayan later deleted the photo.
After the Russian army fled the Kyiv region, the occupier returned to Buryatia. Slidstvo.Info journalists found his number and called Sayan to ask him about the crimes committed in the Kyiv region, which investigators and victims accuse him of.
During the conversation, the Russian occupier denied any involvement in the murder and behaved defiantly: “Who are you, how did you get my number? What is this bullshit, it wasn’t me (who killed Vasyl Avdeev — ed.)… Who will judge me? Just fuck them!”.
The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office served Sayan Ilyarov with a notice of suspicion in March 2023 for premeditated murder and violation of the laws and customs of war. He faces life imprisonment. However, his family says that this will not bring their father and husband back to them.
“They haven’t invented a name for the feeling that I have yet… You can’t bring their father to my children back, and my husband to me. No matter what punishment I come up with, you can’t bring him back… Maybe their children will one day realise that they are doing terrible things here. Very terrible things,” says Tetiana, barely holding back her tears.