Attacks on civilians in Motyzhyn, Kopyliv, and Severynivka, Ukraine

This new report by International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), Truth Hounds, and Global Diligence LLP sets out evidence of war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in three localities on the western outskirts of Kyiv between 27 February and early April 2022 – Motyzhyn, Kopyliv and Severynivka. This cluster of three villages is located off the M06 Kyiv-Zhytomyr highway, approximately 45 kilometres from Kyiv city centre. The area was occupied by Russian armed forces on 27 February 2022, as part of the Kremlin’s failed effort to encircle and capture the Ukrainian capital. The area remained under Russian occupation until Russian armed forces abandoned the assault on Kyiv and withdrew from the north of Ukraine in April 2022.

Truth Hounds documented the killings of 9 civilians during the occupation of the area by Russian armed forces, including:

  • Two civilians were killed in Motyzhyn, after Russian soldiers fired at civilian homes and yards;
  • Five civilians were killed as a result of Russian troops’ attacks on civilian cars trying to flee the area;
  • Two captured civilians from Severynivka were executed by Russian troops for their pro-Ukrainian views and/or perceived affiliation with Ukrainian forces. At least one of them was tortured before execution.

The cases of civilian killings by the Russian forces documented in this report are not exhaustive. For example, after the withdrawal of the Russian forces from the area, Ukrainian police discovered four bodies of local civilians in/near Kopyliv, with signs of violent death. At the same time a mass grave with bodies of four civilians was found in Motyzhyn.

These attacks and killings were documented by the Truth Hounds fact-finding mission to the three villages in April 2022. Members of the fact-finding team interviewed over a dozen village residents, who witnessed the events described in this report or whose family members were killed by the occupying Russian forces. These interviews were processed by IPHR analysts – who corroborated previous findings, analysed the evidence and identified Russian military units operating in the area who may be responsible for the alleged crimes. The documented conduct represents grave violations of international humanitarian law and amounts to war crimes of torture, wilful killings and intentional or indiscriminate attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities.

Read the report here.