The entirety of Ukraine is a crime scene. Across this vast territory, what is striking is how the experiences in each area are so different but also fundamentally the same.
By Anthony Borden
IWPR FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Kyiv suffered the terror of siege and occasional shelling. Kharkiv endured severe bombardment, but it too held off street fighting. Irpin’s apartment blocks were shattered to a moonscape. Many in Borodyanka were buried alive in bombings. Bucha’s population was terrorised individually, leaving bodies strewn in the streets. Mariupol has been effectively levelled, with countless horrors that may never be known.
Yet in each city, town and village, citizens have been specifically targeted. Targeted because Russia sees Ukrainian civilians as legitimate targets in a war on identity, or to disrupt military support systems, or to simply create terror and panic.
The enormity of these crimes will challenge national and international justice processes, now in their earliest stages but set to run for many, many years.
Yet each crime is an individual tragedy. A life cut short and family overturned, a household ravaged.
The scale of this reality challenges our capacity to document, remember, empathise. Each story is part of the larger picture of Russia’s rampant criminality. But each story is also an individual crime and a human catastrophe in its own right.
We returned to Hostomel to follow up on just one such case, among so many on this vast crime scene. The story is the families’ alone, and of all Ukraine.