Article by Isabel Coles describing this tragic event in detail:
A group of Russian soldiers forced the three Kulichenko brothers to their knees on the edge of a freshly dug pit by a wheat field in northern Ukraine. Their legs and wrists were bound and they had been blindfolded with medical dressings, held fast with tape.
The first bullet killed the youngest brother, Yevgen. The second hit Dymytro, the eldest. The round aimed for Mykola struck him close to his right ear and came out above the right side of his mouth.
Soldiers pushed Mykola into the grave on top of Yevgen. He felt Dymytro’s weight land on him, then more pressure. Someone was shoveling earth over them.
“I realized I was alive,” said 33-year-old Mykola. The bullet had skimmed along the upper jaw on the inside of his cheek without causing any major damage.
Surviving execution was just the beginning. Ahead of him lay a harrowing journey home, evading Russian forces along the way.
Mr. Kulichenko’s account forms the basis of one of thousands of cases Ukrainian prosecutors are building against Russian forces they accuse of perpetrating war crimes, including summary executions, torture and rape.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general last month filed war-crimes charges against 10 Russian soldiers accused of taking civilians hostage and mistreating them in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where evidence of mass killings emerged after Moscow pulled back from the capital in March.
The first war-crimes trial began Friday, involving a captured Russian soldier accused of killing a 62-year-old unarmed civilian. Moscow has denied committing war crimes or targeting civilians.
Mr. Kulichenko’s story was corroborated by Ukrainian officials, family members and people he encountered after his brothers were executed.
For the full article in pdf with images, please click here:
Photographs of Dymytro and Yevgen Kulichenko.