The Ukrainian prosecutor general's office said Tuesday it had charged members of the Russian military and a Russian mercenary group as suspects in the high-profile murder of a Ukrainian village mayor and two members of her family.
Olha Sukhenko, the mayor of the village of Motyzhyn, was found murdered along with her husband and son after Russian forces withdrew from the Kyiv region. The prosecutor general's office said it had identified and charged five Russian servicemen and three members of the Wagner private military group. The regional prosecutor's office had charged them in absentia of violating the laws of war combined with premeditated murder.
According to investigators, the suspects abducted the mayor of Motyzhyn and her husband and son to a temporary base, where they tortured them in an attempt to obtain information about Ukrainian troops and territorial defense forces and subsequently murdered them.
The bodies of the mayor and her family members were found partly buried in a shallow grave.
According to the statement from the prosecutor general's Office, the suspects allegedly robbed civilians, tortured and killed them and burned their homes. The statement said pre-trial investigations had been carried out by the investigative department of the main directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine in Kyiv and Kyiv region; it did not name the suspects.
Russian officials have dismissed allegations of war crimes by Russian troops as fake, despite firsthand evidence gathered by international news media. The participation of Wagner mercenaries in several conflicts, including in Ukraine, has been widely documented.