war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Russians abduct and murder a young Ukrainian couple in occupied Kherson oblast

Halya Coynash
Relatives believe that Anastasia and Valery Saksahansky were abducted and killed because they had refused to take Russian citizenship

Anastasia and Valeriy Saksahansky Wedding photo posted by Antonina Pshenichna

Anastasia and Valeriy Saksahansky Wedding photo posted by Antonina Pshenichna

Anastasia Saksahanska and her husband, Valeriy, were abducted by Russian soldiers from their home in Mali Kopan, a village in Kherson oblast) on 15 September and murdered.  Relatives of the young couple, whose two-year-old daughter, Margarita, has lost both parents, believe that they were targeted because they had refused to take Russian citizenship and to collaborate with the Russian occupation regime. There is no possibility at present of verifying the motives, however the Centre for Journalist Investigations (CJI} has received confirmation from its own sources that the couple were indeed abducted by the Russians and killed.

News of the murder of 34-year-old Valeriy Saksahansky and Anastasia, who was just 26 was first reported by Antonina Pshenichna, a midwife and gynaecologist at the same Klymenko Perinatal Clinic where Anastasia (Nastia) worked.  

Antonina has since told CJI that she has spoken with relatives of the couple who assert that both Nastia and Valeriy had refused to get Russian passports or to cooperate with the occupation regime.  They had stood out in this, as others who had remained in their village, including relatives, had decided to go along with the occupation regime. 

CJI’s source within the Hola Prystan City Council told them that the Russians had burst into the couple’s home at around 1 a.m. on 16 September.  They took Nastia and Valery away, although their daughter was fast asleep in the house, and also stole the couple’s jeep.  The couple’s bodies were found the following days.

The source explained that there had recently been a rotation in Russian soldiers and that the new forces that had arrived at the Hola Prystan hromada were especially brutal. “They terrorise people and all who have any possibility try to not even come out on the street. It is very difficult to know exactly what happened to the Saksahansky.  We know that Anastasia’s body was found in the village of Radensk.  She had been shot.”  It is unclear what happened to Valery, though his body was also found.

The Russians have begun abducting Ukrainians as soon as they gained control of any part of Ukraine.  At least two Kherson residents, Denys Myronov and Vitaliy Lapchuk  were seized and tortured to death soon after Russia seized Kherson.  Of the huge number of civilians whom the Russians abducted, some were finally released and have given harrowing accounts of the torture to which they were subjected.  The whereabouts of others are unknown, and it is, unfortunately, possible that some were killed.   

In January 2023, CJI reported that Serhiy Fedorenko, a 34-year-old volunteer, had died in the Kakhovka Central Hospital a week after he was abducted by the Russians, and savagely beaten and tortured. 

Such methods were first demonstrated by the invaders in Bucha and other parts of Kyiv oblast, and it may well be here too that full details of how and why the Russians abducted and murdered Anastasia and Valeriy Saksahansky will only come to light after Kherson oblast is fully liberated.

Although the Russians are not believed to be widely murdering those who do not want to take Russian citizenship, they are placing a large number of Ukrainians before a life or death situation.  They are currently refusing to provide even insulin and other vital medication to Ukrainians living in their own country unless they agree to receive Russian passports (details of this and other terror methods here).. 

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