Village leader and family found buried in shallow grave outside Ukrainian capital

Moscow has denied targeting civilians and has said similar reports of killings were "staged" to sully Russia's name. 

A destroyed armoured vehicle, with the letter "V" painted on it, is seen on a road, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, near the village of Motyzhyn in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 2, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/MAKSIM LEVIN)
A destroyed armoured vehicle, with the letter "V" painted on it, is seen on a road, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, near the village of Motyzhyn in the Kyiv region, Ukraine March 2, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MAKSIM LEVIN)

The head of the village of Motyzhyn, her husband and her son were killed and buried in a shallow grave, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry said on Monday, showing their partially covered bodies in the sand.

Since Russian troops withdrew from towns and villages around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv last week, Ukrainian troops have been moving in, showing journalists corpses of what they say are civilians killed by Russian forces, destroyed houses and burnt-out cars.

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Reuters could not independently verify who killed the family in the grave just outside Motyzhyn, west of Kyiv. Moscow has denied targeting civilians and has said similar reports of killings were "staged" to sully Russia's name. 

"There have been Russian occupiers here. They tortured and murdered the whole family of the village head," said Anton Herashchenko, naming those killed as Olha Sukhenko, her husband Ihor Sukhenko and their son, Oleksandr.

"The occupiers suspected they were collaborating with our military, giving us locations of where to target our artillery. These scum tortured, slaughtered and killed the whole family. They will be responsible for this."

 Bodies of civilians, who according to residents were killed by Russian army soldiers, lie in the street, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine April 2, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA) Bodies of civilians, who according to residents were killed by Russian army soldiers, lie in the street, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine April 2, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA)

A Reuters reporter saw the bodies in a forest near a farm, which had been all but destroyed, just outside the village of Motyzhyn. Nearby a burnt-out tractor could be seen and one of those buried in the sand had his head taped.

The reporter also saw another body of a man in a well near the burnt-out farm, where black burn marks climbed up its few remaining walls. He appeared to have been tied up.

Global outrage spread on Monday over civilian deaths in Ukraine including evidence of bound bodies shot at close range and a mass grave found in areas retaken from Russian troops, as artillery bombarded the country's south and east.

Reuters reporters saw on Sunday several corpses by the roadside in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, one had his hands tied behind his back and a bullet wound to his head, one of the hundreds of local residents that officials say have been found dead in the wake of five weeks of Russian occupation. Read full story

On Sunday, Russia's defense ministry said in a statement that all photographs and videos published by the Ukrainian authorities alleging crimes by Russian troops in Bucha were a "provocation" and no resident of Bucha suffered violence at the hands of Russian troops.