These include a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022.
Soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing, and firewood. Those who carried out these abuses are responsible for war crimes.
"The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians," said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes."
Human Rights Watch interviewed 10 people, including witnesses, victims, and local residents of Russia-occupied territories, in person or by telephone. Some people asked to be identified only by their first names or by pseudonyms for their protection.
"Russia has an international legal obligation to impartially investigate alleged war crimes by its soldiers," Williamson said. "Commanders should recognize that a failure to take action against murder and rape may make them personally responsible for war crimes as a matter of command responsibility."