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Ukraine ‘will not be silent about horror of rapes against women during invasion’

Ukrainian MP Maria Mezentseva said details of incidents must be recorded as they happen because ‘justice has to prevail’.

27 March 2022

Ukraine will “not be silent” about the “horror” of rapes being committed against women during the Russian invasion, a politician in the country has said.

Ukrainian MP Maria Mezentseva said while one particularly shocking case had been publicly talked about, there are “many more victims” who will need support in the future.

She referred to a case which Ukraine’s prosecutor is investigating, where a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in front of her child.

Ms Mezentseva, who is head of the permanent delegation of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said details of incidents must be recorded as they happen because “justice has to prevail”.

She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “There is one case which was very widely discussed recently because it’s been recorded and proceeded with (by) the prosecutor’s office, and we’re not going into details, but it’s quite a scary scene when a civilian was shot dead in his house in a small town next to Kyiv.

“His wife was – I’m sorry but I have to say it – raped several times in front of her underage child.”

Ms Mezentseva, who was speaking to Sky from western Ukraine, said the country could benefit from the experience of other countries, such as the UK, in how to help victims in the aftermath of war.

She said: “There are many more victims rather than just this one case which has been made public by the prosecutor general.

“And of course, we are expecting many more of them, which will be public once victims will be ready to talk about that.”

She insisted: “We will definitely not be silent.”

She described war as “violence”, but added that this particular incident is “horror”, questioning how a child will cope after seeing something so distressing.

The MP added: “That’s why you know, when we’ve been talking to Boris Johnson, when we will be talking to your Home Office, when we’ve been talking to MPs of UK, we’ve also raised this issue that this aftermath, which we are dealing with right now, the aftermath of war, has to be taken very cautiously, very seriously, and to take into account the UK experience and experience of other countries, which can help us in dealing with psychologists, and how to help these people to actually live over these cases, to keep going afterwards, to keep living.”

She added: “Of course justice has to prevail, that’s why these cases are taken very seriously.”

Ms Mezentseva said there had also been two incidents reported in the past week where Russian soldiers are accused of shooting at civilians queuing for humanitarian aid.

She said: “This is just an absolute fact of a war crime against (the) Ukrainian civilian population.

“This is definitely not soldiers against soldiers. This is something which is going beyond the normal understanding of war conduct.”

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