in Boutcha, the plunge into the hell of Ivana-Franka Street

By Remy Ourdan

Posted today at 10:45 am, updated at 11:30 am.

The gates of hell opened on Ivana-Franka Street for no apparent reason. Damn, Natalya calls it “The Fury of the Russians”† Gregoriy is still shaking. Irina fled across the country. No resident of Ivana-Franka, on the outskirts of Boutcha, really understands what happened during this month of Russian military occupation. For now, we discover and collect bodies, here and there, in houses, gardens or on a path, ghosts of the tornado of violence that fell over the city.

Life is usually peaceful on Ivana-Franka Street. Between the town center and the railway, not far from the River Irpine, it almost feels like being in the countryside. We live there in a detached house, there are a few trees in the gardens, often a shed for wood and tools, sometimes a vegetable garden. Usually young people go to work in the center of Boutcha or Kiev, while the elderly go for a walk. We live between two worlds, between city and countryside. Ivana-Franka radiates tranquility.

Then came the war. Soldiers arrived. They set up a base in an empty house, in the alley between Staroyablonska and Novoyablonska, near the entrance to Ivana-Franka. They installed a tank in front of Irina and Serhiy’s house, on the corner of Maksima-Rydzanycha Street, with a checkpoint. Then another tank, next to Yuri’s house.

A deminer for the house of the Shipilo family, occupied by the Russian army.  The family has disappeared.
A car signed
In the house of the Shipilo family, occupied by the Russian army.
Natalya outside the house of Irina Gavriluk, whose husband Serhiy and brother Roman were murdered.

Butcha was occupied by the Russian army from February 27 to the night of March 30 to 31. Following the liberation of the Kiev region, announced by the Ukrainian government on April 2 after a month of fierce fighting and the withdrawal of the Russian army, the occupied towns and villages are bruised by the killings, destruction and looting. Most people died in Boutcha during this phase of the investigation.

The macabre finds in Ivana-Franka Street are made from east to west. The east is access to the center, while the west is a dead end along a railway line. In the east, near the military base, the most spectacular murder took place.

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In a vacant lot, at the end of the avenue where the house that served as the headquarters of the Russian unit stands, neighbors found the bodies of seven people, burned together after they were executed. There were no witnesses. Neighbors were not allowed to use the alley, which is now littered with liquor bottles. The bodies are identified.

In the city cemetery, the police are making an inventory of about fifty body bags containing the bodies of people who died during the occupation by the Russian army.
The bodies of those who died during the occupation of Boutcha by the Russian army are being collected by the police at the municipal cemetery.

As we walk down Ivana-Franka Street, the list of victims continues. The first are Serhiy and his brother-in-law Roman, shot dead in their garden in front of Irina Gavriluk, Serhiy’s wife and Roman’s sister. One was hit by a bullet, the other pierced by a volley of automatic weapons.

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