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- A Russian deserter who is now in Europe told CNN that his unit included “maniacs who enjoy killing.”
- Nikita Chibrin said men in his unit raped a mother and daughter but were not jailed, just sent home.
- Chibrin’s papers show he was in a unit connected to alleged war crimes in Bucha, CNN said.
A Russian soldier who deserted his unit and is now in Europe said his colleagues in Ukraine included men who enjoyed killing and men who raped a mother and daughter but were never jailed for it.
Nikita Chibrin told CNN that two soldiers in his unit raped two women in March, when his unit was northwest of Kyiv, but that commanders barely punished them.
He said the soldiers ran away after it happened: “I saw them run, then I learned they were rapists. They raped a mother and a daughter.”
He said that commanders shrugged after learning about it, and that the soldiers were beaten but not given any formal punishment.
“They were never jailed. Just fired. Just like that: ‘Go!’ They were simply dismissed from the war. That’s it.”
Chibrin was speaking to CNN from a European city where he has requested asylum, after he deserted the military in September and fled the country.
He said that his commanders broadly ignored any rapes, killing, and looting by soldiers in their unit.
“They reacted like: ‘Whatever. It happened. So what?’ Actually, there was no reaction,” he said.
He later added: “There’s no discipline.”
Chibrin said that his unit had soldiers who enjoyed killing, including murdering unarmed civilians.
He said that soldiers had a “direct command to murder” anyone who shared information about the unit, including civilians, and that “if someone had a phone – we were allowed to shoot them.”
Chibrin told CNN that he was part of the 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, a unit linked to alleged war crimes in Bucha.
Military documents backed up this claim, CNN reported.
Chibrin said he did not commit any crimes himself, and that he did not see murders.
Ukraine said that as of September it had documented 34,000 cases of alleged war crimes since Russia’s invasion began in February.
Russia’s defense ministry did not respond to CNN regarding Chibrin’s claims.
Russia has broadly denied that its soldiers have committed any war crimes, including in Bucha.