CLARE Senator Timmy Dooley travelled to Kyiv earlier this week, where he met political leaders including Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna, while he was brought to the sites of the atrocities close to the city.
“We travelled out to Irpin and Buca, to see at first hand what the occupiers did while they were there. There is utter devastation, homes completely demolished, attacks on civilians, you can see where people were shot in their cars as they tried to escape,” he said.
Senator Dooley said there were appalling attacks on civilians and there are strong indications of war crimes. “We were taken to a churchyard where people had been buried temporarily by the priest and the local community, just necessary for a sanitary point of view. In some cases they were able to get body bags to bury them and in other cases they had to buried in mass graves without any body bag. Now that they have pushed the Russians back out they have started the painstaking work of digging up the graves again, taking out the bodies, carrying out autopsies and trying to identify them. They were shot at point blank range, execution style and left on the side of the street. From a sanitary point of view and to protect the integrity of the bodies they had to do a temporary burial in the church grounds, in a mass grave.”
He said that in certain areas children’s toys littered the ground, while there were cars that had been shot at and the remnants of the dead remained, people killed as they sought to escape the Russian terror.
Senator Dooley said that Irpin and Bucha had been pleasant, relatively affluent areas, but have been completely destroyed. He said that when he was there residents were just starting to return to their devastated homes. “Because there was a curfew people couldn’t come into the area, now a few have started to come back, to see what’s left of their homes. They’re utterly shattered, it was very emotional meeting people who are just making their way back. We were amongst the first into these regions since the Russians were put out. There’s the smell of burnt out homes and that pungent smell of charred remains.”
There is no doubt that Russian claims that there have not been any atrocities is simple propaganda, Senator Dooley said. “You come back and you hear Putin saying there were no civilians targeted, this is a figment of the imagination of the west. Well, we say first hand the bodies being removed from the mass graves, we saw the homes obliterated with no military installation whatsoever around. It’s not like there was a misfire or something, vast areas were systematically obliterated and the people that were still there.”