in Boutcha, the plunge into hell of Ivana-Franka Street

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By Remy Ourdan

Posted today at 10:45 a.m., updated at 11:30 a.m.

The gates of Hell opened on Ivana-Franka Street, for no apparent reason. Hell, Natalya calls it “The Rage of the Russians”. Gregoriy is still shaking. Irina fled across the country. No inhabitant of Ivana-Franka, on the edge of Boutcha, still really understands what happened during this month of Russian military occupation. For the moment, we discover and we collect bodies, here and there, in houses, gardens or on a path, specters of the tornado of violence which fell on the city.

Life is usually peaceful on Ivana-Franka Street. Between the city center and the railway line, not far from the Irpine river, it almost feels like being in the countryside. We live there in a detached house, there are a few trees in the gardens, often a shed for wood and tools, sometimes a vegetable patch. Usually, young people go to work in the center of Boutcha or kyiv, while the old go for walks. We live between two worlds, between city and countryside. Ivana-Franka exudes tranquility.

Then the war came. Soldiers arrived. They set up a base in an empty house, in the alley between Staroyablonska and Novoyablonska, near the entrance to Ivana-Franka. They installed a tank in front of the house of Irina and Serhiy, at the corner of Maksima-Rydzanycha street, with a checkpoint. Then another tank, next to Yuri’s house.

A deminer in front of the Shipilo family house, occupied by the Russian army.  The family has disappeared.
A car signed
In the house of the Shipilo family, occupied by the Russian army.
Natalya outside the house of Irina Gavriluk, whose husband Serhiy and brother Roman were killed.

Butcha was occupied by the Russian army from February 27 until the night of March 30-31. Following the liberation of the kyiv region, announced on April 2 by the Ukrainian government after a month of fierce fighting and the Russian military withdrawal, the towns and villages that were occupied show a face bruised by the killings, destruction, the looting. At this stage of the research, it is in Boutcha that there have been the most deaths.

The macabre finds on Ivana-Franka Street were made from East to West. The East is access to downtown, while the West is a cul-de-sac along a railway line. It was to the east, near the military base, that the most spectacular killing took place.

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In a vacant lot, at the end of the lane where the house that served as the headquarters of the Russian unit is, the neighbors found the bodies of seven people, burned together after being executed. There were no witnesses. Neighbors were not allowed to use the alley, now littered with liquor bottles. The bodies are being identified.

About fifty body bags, containing the bodies of people killed during the occupation by the Russian army, are inventoried by the police at the cemetery of the city.
The bodies of those killed during the occupation of Boutcha by the Russian army are collected by the police at the town cemetery.

Going up Ivana-Franka Street, the list of victims continues. First are Serhiy and his brother-in-law Roman, shot dead in their garden in front of Irina Gavriluk, wife of Serhiy and sister of Roman. One was hit by a bullet, the other pierced by a burst of automatic weapon.

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