Espreso. Global

Volnovakha family murder: Russia claims military shot civilians over moonshine

31 October, 2023 Tuesday

Russia reported the detention of 2 soldiers suspected of killing 9 people in the temporarily occupied Volnovakha - Russia’s Investigative Committee denies the involvement of Kadyrov or Wagner fighters

This is reported by the Agenstvo. Novosti (Agency. News) Telegram channel, citing the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

The statement refutes earlier reports that Wagner or Chechen fighters were involved in the murder. According to the official version, the murderers were contract soldiers from the Far East. Their names, however, have not yet been released.

According to the Investigative Committee, the murder was caused by a domestic conflict. No other details were given in the report. The murder took place on Friday, October 27.

According to the VCHK-OGPU Telegram channel, Russian forensic experts concluded that the killers had military training and used automatic weapons with silencers and thermal imaging devices to carry out the murders in the dark. Based on information from Astra's sources, the police have suggested that the victims were likely killed while they were asleep. "They all were killed in their sleep. On their beds. The house was flooded with water, apparently to hide the evidence. All the neighbors say that the killers are military," a neighbor said.

The Baza Telegram channel reported that prior to the murder, the family had a dispute with unidentified individuals wearing uniforms without insignia. According to one account, the conflict involved Wagner mercenaries, while another version suggests it might have been with security forces from Chechen units. A friend of the family shared with Important Stories outlet details about a confrontation with a Chechen individual who allegedly demanded moonshine for free. "There are rumors around town that the family was selling moonshine, like many others, because there is a huge demand among the military. Many among them are heavy drinkers. They say that a Chechen came to them in the afternoon. He wanted to take some moonshine. Not to buy it, but to take it, saying ‘well, we are protecting you after all.’ He was refused, there was a loud scandal and threats," he said.

The Russian Spring Telegram channel writes that the contract soldiers were drunk and continued to drink after the quarrel. Later, "in an almost insane state," they decided to take revenge, broke into the house and opened fire on sleeping people. The detainees themselves say that they did not see any children and went to kill only men, the channel reports.

According to the same source, the murder suspects were identified by a rare motorcycle they were riding. It was also mentioned in the description of the perpetrators. According to the Russian Spring Telegram channel, the motorcycle was found near the house where one of the suspects lived.

According to the channel, this is the most massive killing of civilians by the Russian military among those investigated by Russian law enforcement agencies. In total, Russian soldiers who returned from the frontline had committed at least 20 crimes by October, killing 27 people.

Names of the detained killers revealed

The VCHK-OGPU Telegram channel has announced the names of those detained for the shooting of a family in Volnovakha. The contractors suspected of mass murder are Anton Sopov and Stanislav Rau.

Sopov turned 21 in August and enlisted immediately after completing his military service. Rau, 28, is originally from the Altai Territory, but recently lived with his wife in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

The channel notes that both detainees had financial difficulties and struggled to repay their loans, which likely led them to seek employment as contract soldiers with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Interestingly, the parents of Rau and Sopov had prior criminal convictions and were on the federal wanted list for various offenses. Additionally, Sopov's father, Ruslan Sopov, originally from the Primorye Territory, has been listed in the Myrotvorets database, a Ukrainian website and a non-governmental organization that publishes personal data of people considered by the site's authors to be enemies of Ukraine, since 2016 as a member of the 60th Separate Mechanized Brigade (military unit 16871), serving as a truck driver in the Russian Armed Forces and a combatant.

Previously, Stanislav Rau and Anton Sopov served in Donetsk near Volnovakha as contract soldiers of the 80th Brigade - unit 19288. The brigade is stationed in Ussuriysk.

According to the source, one of the alleged murderers was caught at home - he lived near the cottage where the shot family was found. The other accused was found a little later.

During the initial investigative actions, Sopov and Rau confessed that they wanted to get even with the men, Eduard and his son Oleksandr, who allegedly offended them. According to the detainees, they killed the women and children by accident, as they could not recognize the victims in the dark. Presumably, the shooting was carried out with special assault rifles Val.

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