‘There are maniacs who enjoy killing,’ Russian defector says of his former unit accused of war crimes in Bucha


Nikita Chybrin says she still remembers her fellow Russian soldiers fleeing after being accused of raping two Ukrainian women while deployed northwest of Kyiv in March.

“I saw them running and I knew they were rapists. They raped a mother and her daughter,” he said. Their commanders Chibrin said when they learned about the rape. Alleged rapists were beaten, he says, but never fully punished for their crimes.

“They have never been in jail. Just shot. Just like that: ‘Go!’ They were simply thrown out of the war. that’s all.”

Chybrin is a former soldier from the Russian city of Yakutsk who says he served in the 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade, a notorious Russian military unit accused of war crimes during attacks on Bucha, Borodyanka and other towns and villages north of Kyiv.

He retired from the Russian army in September and fled to Europe via Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Ukraine’s defense ministry branded soldiers from Chybrin’s brigade as war criminals in April after mass graves containing dead civilians and bodies lying in the streets were found after Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv region.

Chybrin’s military records, seen by CNN, show his commander was Azetbek Omurbekov, the officer in charge of the 64th Special Guards Motor Rifle Brigade. Omurbekov, known as the “Slaughterhouse of Bucha”, is under sanctions by the European Union and the United Kingdom. America authorized the entire brigade.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the massacres, while repeating baseless claims that the images of civilian corpses are fake.

In a move that sparked outrage around the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the unit honorary military status and praised its “heroism” and “courageous actions”.

Chybrin said he did not see any so-called heroism, but he did see many crimes.

Speaking to CNN in a European country where he has sought asylum, he detailed some of the crimes he says he witnessed and said he was willing to testify against his unit at an international criminal court. He maintains that he has committed no crime.

“I didn’t see the killings, but I saw the rapists running away and chasing (high-ranking members of the unit) because they were raped,” he said.

Nikita Chibrin in military uniform.

He also said the unit had a “direct command to kill” anyone who shared information about the unit’s locations, whether military or civilians.

“If somebody had a phone – we were allowed to shoot them,” he said. He claims that there is no doubt that some men of the 64th Special Guards Motor Rifle Brigade were capable of killing unarmed civilians.

“There are madmen who enjoy killing man. Such madmen appeared there,” he said.

Chybrin also described widespread looting by Russian soldiers, taking computers, jewelry and anything else they wanted.

“They didn’t hide it. A lot from my unit, when we left Lipovka and Andreevka at the end of March, they took cars and vehicles, they took civilian cars and sold them in Belarus,” he said. “The mentality is that if you steal something, you’re good. If no one catches you, good! He is good if he sees something valuable and steals it without being caught”.

As for the unit’s commanders, they were well aware of the alleged rapes, murders and robberies, but showed little interest in seeking justice.

“They responded: ‘Whatever. It happened. So what?’ In fact, there was no response,” he said. “Discipline is going [down the drain]There is no discipline.

CNN reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment on the allegations, but did not receive a response.

Chybrin has no doubt that Russia will lose the war against Ukraine, but not until more lives are lost.

Because Russia will not stop until great blood is spilled and everyone is dead. Soldiers are fodder for them. They don’t respect them,” he said.

Having seen the war firsthand, he said the equipment Russian troops have is no match for the weapons Ukraine has access to. While Ukraine receives some of the most advanced weaponry available from its Western allies, he says the Russian military relies on Soviet-era equipment used in the 1980s war in Afghanistan.

“Of course Russia will lose. Because the whole world supports Ukraine. It is foolish to think they (the Russians) will win,” he said. “They thought they would capture Kyiv in three days. What day is it now? [of the war]? 260th? They thought they would come to Ukraine and meet with flowers. But they were told to f*** off and molotov cocktails were thrown.

Military records of Nikita Chibrin.

According to Chibrin, the men in his unit were also poorly prepared for combat. He said the training his unit received was that commanders provide them with weapons, targets and 5,000 rounds of ammunition.

“Keep shooting and then you can go. No one was doing anything. There was no real training. I worked on a computer, in an office, as a lawnmower…” he said.

Lack of training was once evident in Ukraine. The same people who had bragged about being “like Rambo” before being deployed returned broke, he said. “Those who said that the Ukrainians would be easily shot, when they returned from the front … they could not even talk to me. They saw the battle, they saw the defeat, they saw their [fellow] Fighters were killed and corpses were seen. They understood – but they could not run away.

He said many of the men were poorly trained and most had no idea where they were going.

“That was a big lie. It was a military exercise with the Belarusian army. And they lied to us. They said everyone would go to war on February 24,” Chibrin said, adding that he initially refused to go.

“The first thing I said was, ‘Commander, you, I don’t want to go to war,’ and he said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be in big trouble, you’re going to go to jail and your family. There’s going to be big trouble’… Then he attacked me and put me in a special vehicle and closed the door. .and I couldn’t open it [it] from within. That’s how I went to Ukraine.

Chybrin spent months in Ukraine. When the 64th Special Guards Motor Rifle Brigade withdrew from the northwest region of Kyiv at the end of March, following a failed offensive there, he and his unit returned to Belarus.

He went to a military hospital in Russia with a back injury, but was forced to return to Ukraine in May. This time he was sent to the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, and then spent time in the forests around Izium.

He said that he finally got a chance to escape later. He noticed the commanders of other units leaving the area for Russia in a truck and jumped.

“I jump [the bed of the truck] I see, well, other people are leaving Ukraine too. They say we don’t want [fight the] War, we paid the commander (to drive). I wait and wait, and then we are near the border of Russia, the car stops, the boys jump, and I jump. I go to the Russian border, I say I need medical help,” he said.

Once back in Russia, Chibrin said he spent about a month in the hospital, most of it in bed with terrible back pain. But he said that proper treatment could not be given. “They said that if I wanted to go to a special sanatorium, I would have to sign a paper saying that I would go back to the war,” he said.

Chybrin, who refused to sign, said he was preparing to submit paperwork to cancel his military contract when the Russian government announced partial mobilization in September.

“My friends told me I should hide. ‘You need to find a place and hide, your contract won’t be canceled because of mobilization,’ he said. Knowing he had to get as far as he could from the far eastern city of Khabarovsk where he lived, Chybrin first fled across Russia to St. Petersburg and then took a train to Belarus. Once there, he was able to find an intermediary who helped him get to Kazakhstan. , from where he eventually traveled to his current location.

Now he decided to talk about the events he saw in Ukraine, even writing an anti-war song. “Hundreds of souls, hundreds of bodies of lost men. Hundreds of childless mothers,” the chorus goes.


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