The UN Monitoring Mission has published a report on how Russian soldiers killed civilians in Ukrainian cities and villages of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts between 24 February and 6 April 2022. 

It is noted in the report that, as of today, the UN has documented 441 killings of civilians (341 men, 72 women, 20 boys and 8 girls) which occurred in Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts during the first six weeks of the Russian invasion. Moreover, the report’s authors have pointed out that the real number could be significantly higher as they are still working on confirming another 198 killings that happened in those three oblasts during the occupation.  

The report has highlighted that the killings of civilians were not confined to specific locations, although some areas were more affected than others. For example, the Monitoring Mission had documented 73 killings of civilians (54 men, 16 women, 2 boys and 1 girl) in the town of Bucha (Kyiv Oblast), which was under control of Russian troops from 5 to 30 March 2022. They continue working on confirming another 105 possible killings.

Arbitrary executions often came after checks by the Russians. A simple text message, an element of camouflage clothing or experience in military service could bring fatal consequences for a person.

The report contains a thorough analysis of 100 killings. As per the Mission’s estimates, 57 of them were arbitrary executions, 30 occurred in places of detention, and 27 victims were killed on the spot shortly after falling under the occupiers’ control. Men and boys accounted for 88% of the summary execution victims.

It is also stressed in the report that, even though many months have passed since the first killings were detected, there is still a lot of work to do in order to hold the Russians accountable. Nonetheless, the UN has not found any information regarding whether Russian authorities are investigating executions of Ukrainian civilians.