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.

‘I instantly knew my husband had been killed’

06.10.2023    available: Українською | На русском
Andrii Didenko
Bucha resident Iryna Solova, along with her husband and grandchildren, hid in a bathhouse from Russian bombings. Her husband saw something burning on the street and decided to go out to help people. Like many civilians in the city, the unarmed pensioner was killed by Russian soldiers for no reason.

On the fourth, it was turbulent: heavy bombing and shooting. We had no intention of leaving. Our children went to Lukianivka, where they have a production facility nearby, and left us with grandchildren. The grandchildren are six years old. The next day, the children found themselves under occupation in Lukianivka. We couldn’t go. How could you leave with two grandchildren? So we stayed.

My grandchildren and I went to the bathhouse, where we felt more protected. There was less glass [shards] and more protection. We came in the morning, and my husband said: “Something is burning in the street.” There was a huge column of smoke, and something was burning. He said: “I’ll go and see if people need help.” He left while my grandchildren and I were having breakfast. And about 20 minutes later, an automatic or machine gun burst sounded. I don’t know why, but I instantly knew my husband had been killed. I didn’t think about myself then but about my grandchildren. But since the Russians were shooting and bombing all around, Grads were flying, and something else, we ran to the neighbors.

Iryna Solova, Bucha city

My grandchildren and I climbed over the fence and hid with our neighbors; they had something like a bomb shelter in the basement. However, soon, I left — I was worried about my husband. I didn’t know anything about him. You know, it’s one thing when it seems like he has been killed, but it’s another thing to see. I left my grandchildren with the neighbors, climbed over the fence again, and went to find where he was. I went out, and he was lying on the road. He was killed. They [the Russians] did not aim at the arm or the leg to warn the person. My husband was a pensioner, 64 years old. He didn’t have any weapons with him. He just walked out. They could’ve said, “Go back to the house.” But he was killed immediately... A bullet wound to the head. He instantly bled to death, and that was it.

He was lying on the road, and I tried to lift him but couldn’t. I looked up the street; neighbors lived two houses away from us. I thought I’d go to them and ask someone to help drag my husband. I approached, and they were bringing three children’s bodies, about 25 years old, into the yard in a wheelbarrow— two boys and a girl. It was on Kyievo-Myrotska Str — famous case. They came to their parents, brought dog food and provisions for the parents, and they were all shot, like my husband. Head wounds, and that’s it.

The neighbors said: “Wait, you see, we have such misfortune.” Then, they helped me carry my man into the yard. So that he wouldn’t lie there because I couldn’t lift him with my strength. And three days later, the neighbors with whom I was hiding helped me bury him. That’s all I can tell you about this case.

We remind you that in Bucha, the police have opened a Headquarters for documenting Russian war crimes — anyone can join its work.

This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Human Rights in Action Program, run by the Ukrainian Helsinki Group on Human Rights (UHSHR).

The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the US Government, or UHSHR. The authors and KHPG are solely responsible for the content of this article.

USAID is one of the world's leading development agencies facilitating the end of extreme poverty and supporting the movement of recipient countries to self-reliance and resilience. USAID also contributes to the national security and economic well-being of the United States. Its activity is a manifestation of the philanthropy of the American people. USAID has been partnering with Ukraine since 1992: during this time, the agency's total assistance to Ukraine amounted to more than 3 billion US dollars. USAID's current strategic priorities in Ukraine include strengthening democracy and good governance, promoting economic development and energy security, improving health systems, and reducing the impact of conflict in the eastern regions. For more information about USAID's activities, please contact the Public Relations Department of the USAID Mission in Ukraine at tel. (+38 044) 521-57-53. We also invite you to visit their website: or the Facebook page:

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