Russian paratroopers from the 234th Air Assault Regiment are being blamed for a massacre of civilians along a street dubbed the "road of death" in Bucha, Ukraine, during the early weeks of the war, according to an investigation by The New York Times.
The Times reported Thursday evidence from its investigation showed the killings along Yablunska Street were part of an effort to secure a route to the capital of Kyiv. The report said Russian soldiers interrogated and executed unarmed men of fighting age and killed people who crossed their paths, including children.
The Times said it interviewed residents, used security camera footage and obtained records from government sources in its investigation. It reported among the most damning evidence implicating the 234th included phone records and decoded call signs used by commanders on Russian radio channels.
Nearly all the victims identified on Yablunska Street were civilians or Ukrainian prisoners of war. Killing them could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and deemed war crimes under international humanitarian law, The Times reported.
They also could amount to crimes against humanity. Russia is not part of the ICC and is unlikely to cooperate on any potential cases involving Russian soldiers.
The Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian embassy in Washington and Lt. Col. Artyom Gorodilov, the leader of the 234th, did not respond to requests for comment, The Times reported.
When videos and photos emerged in April showing the bodies of civilians strewn along Yablunska Street, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the scene as "a provocation," and claimed the Russian Army had nothing to do with it, the Times reported.
On Dec. 9, Ilya Yashin, a prominent Russian opposition figure, was sentenced to 8½ years in prison on charges stemming from a YouTube livestream in which he talked about Ukrainians being killed in Bucha.
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