Russian soldier Nikita Chibrin of the 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade, which is accused of committing war crimes in Bucha, fled the front and told The Insider about the atrocities he witnessed.
“I know for a fact that there was looting. I saw cars being taken in Lypivka and Andriivka, I saw cars being smashed that [Russian soldiers] couldn't start, houses being destroyed. Apparently, they went crazy, saying that we have power, we have tanks, we have [infantry fighting vehicles], weapons and so on. The ‘Rambo syndrome’ kicked in. They took jewelry from houses, mobile phones.”
Chibrin also confirmed the fact that Russian soldiers raped women in Andriivka.
“They were going crazy over it all. Many found alcohol in the houses and drank. There was a case in Andriivka when a mother and daughter were raped. Four guys did it. One ran away, the rest were beaten with stools by their fellow soldiers and commanders. They wanted to be shot. They couldn't be blamed because there was no evidence, so they were just discharged, let go.”
The soldier said that Russian soldiers were in terrible conditions at the front.
“People haven't been in the normal world for a long time. They didn't have normal conditions [at the front]. The Ukrainian army showed footage of a trench where they had everything, the conditions were humane: shelter, insulation, normal beds, electricity. The Ukrainian army has a much better attitude to its soldiers.”
According to Chibrin, the Russian soldiers were promised that they would be sent home. The ex-soldier claimed that the Russian command regularly puts physical and psychological pressure on those who want to leave the front or potentially end up in Ukrainian captivity.
“Everyone was threatened – they said they’d cut off their dicks or their balls, or that they’d do something else.”
The soldier also said that he pretended to be mentally ill at the front so that he would not be sent to the front lines. As he escaped and refused to shoot, Chibrin claims that he was rejected by all his acquaintances and friends, and even his family.
“I'm a traitor to the motherland to them and that's it. Should I have gone to war and killed Ukrainian civilians? Go to prison? That leaves the third option – just leave.”
Chibrin claims he wants to testify in an international court: “I have nothing to hide. This is a criminal war which Russia has started. I want to do everything possible to end it.”
Chibrin joined the Russian army in the summer of 2021 – by his own admission, due to financial problems. His brigade ended up in Ukraine by deception, the former soldier claims. According to Chibrin, he spent the first month of the war in the village of Lypivka, 50 km from Kyiv. During this period, his comrades-in-arms carried out genocide in Bucha and Andriivka.
On June 16, Chibrin was able to leave Ukraine by hiding in a truck that was headed for Russia. After his escape, he contacted human rights activists from Gulagu.net to help him leave Russia. On November 15, he landed in Madrid, where he immediately asked for political asylum. According to Chibrin, he will be placed in a temporary refugee center while his application is pending.