The boy was still on asphalt as he listened and cried out to his father. His elbow was pierced by a bullet. His thumb was grazed and it sting.

Another murder was taking place on Bucha’s lonely street. This is the area on the outskirts Kyiv’s capital. There are still bodies of civilians being found weeks after the Russian soldiers left. Many were shot in the head.

Yura Nechyporenko, 14, was on her way to becoming one.

Some survivors described soldiers shooting at them or threatening them with guns, but they were eventually dragged away by a more calm colleague. The Russian soldier was not held back by anyone that March day as Yura and Ruslan, a 47-year-old father, were riding down a tree-lined street.

They were traveling to visit neighbors who lived in abandoned homes and basements without running water or electricity. In a sign of peace, their bikes were tied with white fabric.

Yura and his father stopped immediately when the soldier stepped off a dirt path in an attempt to challenge them.

“What are your doing?” Yura recalls asking the soldier. The soldier didn’t give Yura’s father enough time to respond.

Two gunshots were heard by the boy. His father fell with his mouth open and was already bleeding.

A shot struck Yura’s right hand and he also fell. He was also hit by another shot. He shut his eyes.

The final shot was taken.


This story is part a continuing investigation by The Associated Press & Frontline, which includes the War Crimes Watch Ukraine interactive and a forthcoming documentary.


Yura’s remarkable account of a Russian soldier trying to kill her stands out in the midst international justice experts descending on Bucha, a centre of horrors and possible war crimes within Ukraine. Bucha and other areas around Kyiv have seen more than 1,000 bodies. According to local authorities, 31 children aged under 18 died and 19 were injured in Bucha.

Ruslan Kravchenko (chief prosecutor for the Bucha region), stated to the AP that all children were intentionally killed or injured because Russian soldiers shot at evacuating vehicles with the signs CHILDREN and white fabric attached. They also deliberately shot at civilian homes.

According to the U.N., at least 202 children in Ukraine were killed by Russia’s invasion. However, they believe that there are many more. According to the Ukrainian government, there are 217 children who have been killed and 390 injured.

Frontline and the Associated Press, drawing on a variety of sources have independently documented 21 incidents in which children were killed. These attacks range from the discovery in Borodyanka of a child in a shallow burial to the bombing at a Mariupol theater. It is not known how many children were victims of the attacks. The accounting only represents a small fraction of possible war crimes.

Yura, a teenage boy, is becoming more mature. He is spotted and spindly, with dark circles under his eyes. He has been forced to become an adult too quickly. He demonstrates the injuries to his elbow as he lies down on the floor in front of his family.