A Russian soldier said he was told to “kill everyone we see” in Ukraine, including civilians, a war crime, according to audio obtained by The New York Times.


Empty tomb in Idium, Ukraine

Unidentified graves of civilians and Ukrainian soldiers in a cemetery during excavations in the recently recaptured area of ​​Izium, Ukraine, September 17, 2022.Evgeny Maroretka/AP

  • The New York Times obtained over 4,000 recordings of Russian soldiers making phone calls from Kyiv.

  • A Russian soldier told his girlfriend that he had orders to “kill everyone we saw.”

  • UN investigators have previously accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

A Russian soldier in Kyiv said by phone how his commander ordered the army to kill Ukrainian civilians and hide their whereabouts. war crimes under international law.

This call was just one of many unauthorized calls made by Russian soldiers in March. civilians were massacred — by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. new york times Acquired, verified and translated the recording.

The call reveals the harrowing reality faced by Russian soldiers in the early days of the war in Ukraine, which began in late February. A Times report recorded soldiers reporting to their mothers, friends and girlfriends about some of the atrocities they had witnessed and participated in.

In a phone call to his girlfriend, a Russian soldier, identified only by his first name, Sergey, said his commander had ordered the Ukrainian civilians to be taken into the forest and executed. Told.

According to The Times, “They told us there were a lot of civilians roaming where we were going. And they wanted me to kill everyone they saw.” We ordered them,” said Sergei.

His girlfriend replied, “Why did you have sex?”

“Because they might give up our position..that’s what we’re going to do.”Kill passing civilians and drag them into the forest….I’ve already become a murderer. That’s why I don’t want to kill any more people, especially those who have to look me in the eye.”

The killing of civilians is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

According to the law, “deliberately directing attacks against civilians themselves or individual civilians not directly participating in hostilities” is considered a “serious violation of the law” in international armed conflict. be

UN previously accused Russia of crimes A long list of war crimes in Ukraine.

Sexual violence, torture and “indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons” were among the atrocities listed, it said. United Nations investigation To human rights violations and crimes committed in Ukraine.

In another recording between Sergei and his girlfriend, a Russian soldier said the captain had ordered the execution of three men.

“We restrained them, undressed them, searched all their clothes, and then we had to decide whether to release them or not,” said Sergei. “If we let them go, they may give up our position…. So it was decided to shoot them in the woods.”

When his girlfriend asked why he wasn’t taken prisoner, he replied:

The United Nations is not the only international organization that suspects Russia of committing atrocities in Ukraine. Russian forces, which have repeatedly targeted civilians since the war began, have been widely accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine. head of a human rights organization.

President Joe Biden has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing “genocide” in Ukraine.Biden Said In April, Putin was vying to “get rid of the notion of being Ukrainian.”

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