We knew this was going to happen. We knew it was happening. It happens in every war. Always has, always will. Where there is war, there will be war crimes committed against civilians. It’s usually impulsive; troops who’ve been under prolonged stress and ongoing fear sometimes strike out in rage and frustration, in a desire for revenge against the situation they’re in.

But what’s taking place in Ukraine is war crime as a matter of policy. It’s war crime as a strategy. The indiscriminate shelling of civilian apartment buildings, of shelters, of hospitals has been deliberate and intentional. It’s been a conscious, calculated attempt to terrorize the populace and the government of Ukraine and sap their will to resist.

What’s happened in Bucha is different. The shelling and bombing, as horrific as it’s been, was remote, impersonal. It was done at a distance, by troops who would never witness the destruction they were causing. You drop a bomb, you fire an artillery shell, and whatever happens will happen somewhere else to people whose bodies you’ll never see.

In Bucha it was personal. Individual civilians deliberately murdered by individual Russians. Civilians with their hands tied behind their backs, executed in the street. Random civilians riding their bikes, murdered for no reason other than a desire to kill somebody. Men and women shot while sitting in their cars. At least 40 bodies of civilians were scattered along the street. Reports of nearly 300 buried–or partially buried–in two mass graves.

Bucha is was just a small quiet town. A little more than 35,000 people. There’s a nice little municipal park and an international children’s center. Or at least there used to be–now, who knows? The town began as a railway stop back in the 1890s. The station house is still the town’s main landmark. Assuming it’s still there.

Bucha Railway Station

Maybe that railroad was the reason Bucha was a military objective. Russia is accustomed to moving troops and materiel by rail, and Bucha is on the doorstep of Kyiv. I don’t know.

What I know is this: Russia has turned Bucha into a graveyard. You may not want to look at this video of Ukrainian troops arriving in Bucha. You may not want to look at it, but you should. It’s awful, it’s gut-wrenching, but it’s important that the world–that YOU–see what Russia under Putin has done. What Russia is continuing to do in other towns and cities in Ukraine, because this isn’t going to stop until the Russian invasion has stopped.

The video refers to Russian troops as ‘animals’. It would be easy to dismiss the men who did this as less than human. But by doing that, we also diminish their responsibility. The horrifying truth is that the people who did this are almost certainly ordinary young men who’ve been traumatized by their situation. This is what war does; what it’s always done. It ruins everything.

Michael Herr, an Esquire magazine reporter who covered the war in Vietnam, wrote this about that war:

There was such a dense concentration of energy there, American and essentially adolescent, if that energy could have been channeled into anything more than noise, waste and pain it would have lighted up Indochina for a thousand years.

That’s true of any war in any place at any time. Had the energy, the money, the materiel, the humanity pissed away in this single month been applied to “anything more than noise, waste, and pain” Ukraine would be a garden. Bucha would still be a charming town.


Now it’s a hellscape, littered with burnt out vehicles, destroyed buildings, the dead scattered like trash. And why?


We can literally lay the responsibility of all this on one man. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Fuck him. Fuck him in the neck. Fuck anybody who praises him. Fuck anybody who offers an excuse for him. Putin, may he rot in hell.

3 thoughts on “Bucha

  1. And Irpin too, but not this bad I don’t think. However, that theatre in Mariapol haunts me. The fact that they could not dig into the rubble to find the survivors in the cellars below…

    I’m surrounded by people who don’t seem to have any clue what this war is, what it means, what it could lead too. It really bothers me that people just don’t care until it happens to them. That street scape in Bucha is just all kinds of awful. But provided the TV is good tonight most Brits won’t be thinking about it.

    The dead, shot in their cars as they tried to flee, have also been found half burned as the Russians tried to hide the evidence but didn’t have time to do it properly. They aren’t animals. Animals don’t do this. This is most particularly human. Yes, it’s all down to Putin, but the responsibility also lies with those who pull the triggers up close like this.

    I think you should listen to this interview. I found it most interesting earlier.

    And then, up pops one of your retired generals that backed up the first interview. I don’t think we are facing reality at all yet. About how big this could be. We really need Putin gone, but he’s too protected.


    • In this case, I think you’re probably wrong when you suggest “people just don’t care until it happens to them.” At least I hope you’re wrong. I suspect when we see similar photos of murdered civilians in places like Borodyanka and Kharkiv and Mariupol people will be able to sustain a level of outrage necessary to punish offenders a few years down the road.

      The important thing is to keep reminding the public that these sorts of killings aren’t random acts, but a part of a deliberate policy of terror.


  2. Pingback: Ucraina – CRINA PRIDA

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