Prosecutor names reasons behind Russian abuse, violence against Ukrainian civilians
Yuriy Belousov, who leads the department for combating crimes in conditions of armed conflict at the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, has shared his insights on why Russia tortures Ukrainians
He said it in an interview with RBC-Ukraine.
"I believe it's a combination of factors. It's difficult to pinpoint a single cause. One key aspect is the marked difference in the culture of violence between Russia and Ukraine. What we consider unacceptable behavior, such as someone harming our children at school or witnessing violence on the streets, prompts an immediate response from us," he explains.
Belousov stressed that violence is an integral part of life in Russia, and the behavior exhibited here by the invading Russian forces is consistent with their behavior at home.
He further explained, "In Russia, it's normalized to abuse their wives, as it is rooted in their culture. The level of violence in the streets and within their military is a nightmare. If you examine the sexual violence, murders, and torture that occurs among their own soldiers, it becomes clear that if they treat their own people this way, there should be no surprise when they act similarly towards us."
The impact of Russian propaganda
Russian propaganda played a significant role in preparing its citizens for the attack on Ukraine and fostering hatred. “This propaganda likely served as an outlet for the aggression that couldn't be directed at their own leadership. When people are under strict control, they might express their pent-up aggression. It's like releasing caged beasts. They harbor intense hatred towards us,” he says.
According to the prosecutor, private companies were expected to commit more war crimes because they lacked the training and selection process seen in the regular army, but the level is actually the same.
“The so-called professional units at the beginning... Well, there were those professional units in Bucha. These are their best people, they were thrown in first. They probably should have behaved completely differently. But they acted like a pack of zombies. In my view, the entire Russian army seems to function as a criminal group created for committing war crimes,” the prosecutor added.
He also discusses genocidal rapes used as punishment and expressions of hatred against Ukrainian women. He provides an example of an audio recording where a wife encourages her husband to commit such acts.
The hatred of the enemy likely intensified when Russian soldiers saw the high living standards in the Kyiv region. “They were exposed to beautiful towns they could only see in the movies. This may have triggered a psychological response tied to realizing the disparity between their own lives and the lives of the people they attacked in an attempt to 'save'"
After returning home, they replicate these actions on their own people.
- Ten Russian militants who fought against the Ukrainian military in Mariupol and Volnovakha were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
- Additionally, in Russia during the first half of 2023, the number of people convicted of sexual crimes, murders, and extremism hit a record high, with a significant portion of the culprits being military personnel.