- Reports of atrocities poured in from Bucha, Ukraine after Russia withdrew from areas near kyiv.
- A new Reuters report identifies soldiers and military units that were in Bucha before the retreat.
- A soldier was identified because a love letter addressed to him was left in a civilian home.
A Russian soldier in Bucha, while atrocities were being committed, left an identification document: a handwritten love letter signed with a lipstick kiss.
Reuters reporters spent weeks in Bucha, Ukraine, after Russian forces completed their withdrawal from areas around kyiv last month. The report, released on Thursday, includes new details about what happened in Bucha based on interviews with nearly 100 residents, documents left behind by Russian forces, and photographic and video evidence.
A resident of Bucha told the outlet that he discovered the letter after returning home and that much of his house was destroyed. He was in his living room among a pile of documents, including Ukrainian IDs belonging to civilians whom Russian soldiers had interrogated or detained.
“It’s good that you are close, close in my heart, but you are far away, serving our country, protecting us. I am proud of you!” said the letter.
The imprint of the kiss was visible in a photo of the letter published by Reuters.
The letter was signed by Oksana Rybakova and addressed to Aleksandr Logvinenko, a Russian soldier later identified as a paratrooper.
Reuters contacted Rybakova, located in Russia’s Pskov region, who said Logvinenko was her partner, although she later withdrew her complaint. Two people who knew the couple also confirmed their relationship with the outlet.
Reports of atrocities and potential war crimes poured in from Bucha after the Russian retreat, including the murder and rape of civilians as well as the discovery of mass graves, prompting calls for an international investigation.
The outlet identified specific soldiers and military units that were in Bucha and linked some of them to specific acts of violence against unarmed civilians. Russia dismissed reports of atrocities in Bucha and claimed the accounts were false.
Another Russian soldier was identified by the outlet after spray-painting his social media handle on the walls of a house near where the letter was found.