Since this weekend (2/3 April 2022), war crimes committed by Russian soldiers in the territories occupied by them have been intensively reported. Especially in suburbs of Kyiv, such as Butcha, from which the Ukrainian army was able to push back Russian troops, several hundred murdered civilians were found. Even if there is no final proof of perpetration, it seems that they were murdered by Russian soldiers. At least that is what survivors testify. And this is also supported by the fact that there are parallels to the actions of the Russian army in Chechnya and Syria. Nevertheless, care is needed in reconstructing the course of the crimes and in the search for those responsible and guilty. As expected, the Russian government rejects all blame. This makes a good and comprehensible analysis and clarification of the crimes all the more important, which must be followed by a conviction of the perpetrators and those who commissioned the crimes in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Below are some articles and Twitter threads that attempt a serious analysis and attribution of responsibility for these war crimes, without yet being able to give a definitive answer. Russian sources are not included here because there are no longer any media independent of the government in Russia. Sources that are controlled and censored by the presumed war criminals are simply not credible. Read more here: Mediale Gleichschaltung in Russland: Morden und Manipulieren für Putin. Wie kann es sein, dass so viele Russen zu glauben scheinen, was der Kreml über den Krieg zusammenlügt? Die Antwort verrät der Blick auf mehr als 20 finstere Jahre russischer Geschichte. Eine Kolumne von Christian Stöcker | Der Spiegel, 03.04.2022
One argument in favour of Russian responsibility for these war crimes is that various sources document them. Newspapers in various Western European countries report on the massacres both with reference to reports by the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) and partly also with reference to their own journalists on the ground.
The Russian government holds the Ukrainian government or the Ukrainian army responsible for the massacres. Witnesses, on the other hand, say that the Russian army carried out the massacres. A fairly clear answer should come from determining when the deaths of the murdered people occurred. If it is before the withdrawal of the Russian troops, the answer is probably clear.
Moreover, the Russian claim that the Ukrainian side was responsible for the massacre leaves open the question of how the Ukrainian side could have carried out the massacres in the period from the withdrawal of the Russian troops to the arrival of the Ukrainian troops without being observed by residents. The inhabitants would not have accepted the murder of relatives by their own government or army for propaganda reasons without resistance and in silence.
After all, the war crimes were documented by several civilians on their smartphones and distributed via social media. This speaks against an orchestrated action on the part of Ukraine.
Below are some articles from various Western European media and some comments on Twitter.