A one-year-old boy died from his injuries after being raped by Russian soldiers, Ukraine has claimed.
The boy was among more than 60 reports of rape in two days, which also included two 10-year-old boys from newly-liberated villages in the Kharkiv region, according to the Ukrainian Ombudswoman.
In a tweet on May 19, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said: “Today, in just one hour, 10 reports of rape by the [Russian] occupiers, including 8 children, were received from newly liberated villages in the Kharkiv region.
“Yesterday – 56 reports. Among the children: two 10-year-old boys and a 1-year-old boy who died of his injuries.”
The report is so far unverified, but more details were shared by Ukrainian journalist Iryna Matviyishyn, who included the one-year-old boy in a harrowing list of alleged attacks by Russian soldiers on children.
She said reports also included allegations that triplet girls, aged nine, had been raped by Russian soldiers in front of their mother, while a two-year-old girl had survived after being raped by two soldiers.
Matviyishyn said the report had been published by Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Lyudmyla Denisova.
She added: “According to Denisova, Russians also raped two men aged 67 and 78. And, reportedly, the Commissioner’s Psychological Assistance Line receives calls about such war crimes every day now.
“This is a very small part of the territory that was liberated from Russians, compared to those towns, villages, and cities that are still under the occupation.
“We can only imagine the number of such atrocities in Kherson, Melitopol, Mariupol, Berdyansk, and others.”
The allegations are the latest in a catalog of claims of horrific violence meted out by Russians in Ukraine that have shocked the international community.
Earlier this week a 21-year-old Russian soldier facing the first war crimes trial since Moscow invaded Ukraine pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed civilian.
Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin could get life in prison for shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window.
The news of continued atrocities come after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned that even if technology, intelligence and leadership had failed in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, he still had one option “in his back pocket” – “brutality”.
Wallace told the Defence of Europe conference at King’s College London: “If you win your war by killing, murdering, raping, bombing civilian territories, breaching all human rights, all Geneva Conventions, corruption, and that becomes the battle-winning component, the message that sends around the world to other adversaries around the world is incredibly dangerous.
“That you don’t need to have all the best kit or the best training or appropriate rule of law, you just need to be able to be more brutal than the other person and more prepared to destroy everything in your path.”
He added: “That’s why it matters to the international community and should matter, that if Putin is successful in Ukraine, then watch out.”