A brigade accused by Ukraine of crimes and mass deaths in Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv, has been given an honorary title by Russia.
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday designating the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade as “Guards” for defending the “Motherland and state interests” and commended its members’ “mass heroism and valour, tenacity and courage” during its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian defense ministry said in early April that the unit took the town following Russia’s invasion on February 24 and committed “war crimes.”
Ukraine intelligence agency publicized the names, ranks, and passport information of the brigade’s members, stating that they will face prosecution.
According to Ukrainian authorities, the bulk of those killed in Bucha died as a result of gunshot wounds.
Following the withdrawal of Russian soldiers, dead bodies of individuals clothed in civilian attire, some with their wrists bound, were discovered in the streets.
The remains of 410 people were retrieved from locations in the larger Kyiv region after Ukrainian troops restored total control, according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general in early April.
Prior to actually collecting the dead, officials photograph and document them in order to gather evidence that might be used in a war crimes inquiry.
According to the Kremlin, Russian military were not involved for murdering people near Kyiv, which further claimed that photographs of bodies were “fakes.”
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, now in its 55th day, has claimed the lives of thousands of people and driven Twelve million people to evacuate their homes, including about five million who have fled to other countries.