Two Russian snipers who allegedly “gang raped” a mother at gunpoint while her husband knelt in front and watched, are set to be tried in Ukrainian court.
The two men allegedly also sexually assaulted the mother’s four-year-old daughter.
A month into the Ukraine war, Yevgeny Chernokhizhniy, 27, and Vadim Shakhmatov, 31, made a recce of a Ukrainian village in search of houses where “young and attractive female faces were living”, a Ukrainian national police report said.
The men then returned after having “agreed on a joint violation of the laws and customs of war” with their plan to sexually violate a number of Ukrainian women.
After raping the mother and her daughter, the two men – snipers of the 15th Separate Guards Motorised Rifle Brigade – continued their spree.
They allegedly raped another two girls, aged 15 and 17, and another two mothers, including one who was pregnant.
They will be tried for multiple acts of rape and using sexual violence as a war crime against women and underage girls.
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Shakhmatov will be tried in absentia, while Chernokhizhniy will be tried posthumously after he reportedly died, according to the administration of the region where he lived.
Despite the horrifying allegations, Chernoknizhniy was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage, an honour bestowed by Vladimir Putin.
He was dubbed a “hero” and a “real” man at a ceremony to commemorate his death last year.
A eulogy and plaque was even put up in his honour in the school he attended in his youth.
It read: “Our compatriot, a native of the village Chebotaryovo, Yevgeny Andreevich Chernoknyzhniy, senior sniper of the rifle platoon of the rifle company, died on 15 April 2022. He was only 27 years old.
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“It is impossible to express the pain of loss in words.
“Yevgeny chose the defence of the Fatherland as his life’s work and remained faithful to his oath and duty to the end, steadfastly proved himself in the performance of military service duties, valiantly defended the Motherland from neo-Nazis.”
Shakhmatov is understood to still be alive in Russia with his wife and young daughter.
His identity was confirmed over a phone registered to him. Asked to comment about an indictment in Ukraine over the war crime allegations, he said: “Go **** yourself, here, this is how I comment. Go **** yourself.
His wife Anastasia Shakhmatova declined to comment and hung up on calls.
Russia currently refuses to extradite its citizens, especially not to Ukraine.
Although he will be tried, he will not be forced to attend his trial and will evade punishment if convicted.
The crimes allegedly took place in Brovary, in the Kyiv region, in March 2022, a month after Russia marched troops into Ukraine. Locals from the region shared details of the incidents.
A statement on the indictment from the Ukrainian prosecutor-general’s office stated: “The accused broke into the house of a young couple and, threatening [them] with a weapon, raped the wife one by one.”
The husband was allegedly forced to kneel and watch.
It said one of the accused then raped their four-year-old daughter. He allegedly told the girl he “will make her a woman” before forcing her to perform oral sex.
After this, they broke into another home and raped a pregnant woman and a minor at gunpoint, said the statement. They then allegedly broke into another house and tried to rape a woman that same day. But the woman resisted and they went to the neighbouring house.
The statement said: “There, the accused isolated the mother and her minor daughter in separate rooms and raped them one by one.”
Chernokhizhniy and Shakhmatov’s alleged attacks are among 235 cases of conflict-related sexual violence, involving 150 females and 85 males.
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