• Ukraine says it documented 400 allegations of sexual violence, including rape, by Russian soldiers within two weeks.
  • The human rights commissioner described the allegations in an interview with state TV.
  • Numerous horrifying rape allegations have been made public since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine’s human-rights commissioner said on Tuesday that investigators had heard more than 400 allegations of sexual violence, including rape, of Ukrainians by Russian soldiers in the space of two weeks.

In a televised interview with Suspilne, Ukraine’s state broadcaster, Liudmyla Denisova said that a psychological-support hotline set up in partnership with UNICEF had received the calls between April 1 and April 14. 

She alleged disturbing details of how Russian soldiers go about rapes. Insider was unable to confirm the allegations made, and the Russian embassy in London did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

“There are two features,” Denisova said.

Firstly, she said, the perpetrators are generally young soldiers between 20 and 25 years old. “That is, those who just grew up on Putin’s rule, on his propaganda,” she said.

Secondly, soldiers typically commit the rape in public and in view of others, she said. She gave an example of a 25-year-old woman who was made to watch the rape of her 16-year-old sister, and begged that they rape her instead. 

“We need help for both,” said Denisova. She went on to describe the alleged rapes of two 11-year-olds, a girl and a boy, and a 14-year-old. 

She said the 11-year old girl snuck out to pick flowers in Hostomel, a city northwest of Kyiv that has been under heavy assault. Of the rape, Denisova said, the girl “remembers only the beginning, and then remembers nothing, only when she was knocked to the ground.”

Denisova noted that she was only sharing stories with permission of the victims, and said they are often reluctant to put their stories on the record so soon after the alleged assault. 

The United Nations defines wartime rape and sexual violence as a war crime. 

Numerous horrifying rape allegations have been made public since Russia invaded Ukraine, some of which broadly correspond with Denisova’s characterizations.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba raised the accusation of multiple rapes during an address to a London think tank in early March, Reuters reported

But this is the first time a Ukrainian official has attempted to quantify the accounts. Given the limited date range and the difficulties in receiving and verifying accounts, the figure cited by Denisova is unlikely to be an exact reflection of the total.

In late March it emerged that Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, was also investigating an allegation made by a Ukrainian woman that she was repeatedly raped after Russian soldiers killed her husband. 

In early April, CNN published audio released by Ukrainian officials that purported to show the conversation between Russian soldiers and their superiors, describing the rape of a 16-year-old girl by three soldiers.