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A Ukrainian mother has recounted being raped at gunpoint by Russian soldiers while her young son sobbed nearby.
Speaking to The Times, the 33-year-old woman - whose identity has been hidden - described the shocking experience, which she says took place at the hands of two drunk soldiers who had shot her husband moments before.
The case is believed to be the first official rape investigation into Russian solders carried out by Ukrainian authorities following the invasion.
The woman says that, on 8 March, Russian troops entered her village, and her and her husband hung a white sheet from their gate to show "there is just a family here and no one wants any harm”.
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The following day, she says, the soldiers returned and shot dead the family dog before going to look for petrol to use for a quad bike they had stolen from neighbours. After a confrontation with the commander of the soldiers, who is said to have "leered" at the woman, the troops left.
However, two of the solders, including the commander, returned later that evening.
Upon hearing noises at the front gate, the victim's husband - who has also not been named - went to investigate where he was summarily shot dead.
The two soldiers are then accused of subjecting the mother to hours of abuse, raping her multiple times while her son cried nearby.
“He said ‘you’d better shut up or I’ll get your child and show him his mother’s brains spread around the house’," she told The Times.
“He told me to take my clothes off. Then they both raped me one after the other. They didn’t care that my son was in the boiler room crying. They told me to go shut him up and come back.
"All the time they held the gun by my head and taunted me, saying ‘how do you think she sucks it? Shall we kill her or keep her alive?’"
They left her for around 20 minutes, before returning and raping her once more.
She said they were so drunk that they eventually fell asleep, at which point she grabbed her son and fled.
The pair eventually escaped to the city of Ternopil where her husband’s sister had already been evacuated with her own children.
Almost three weeks on, the child's son is still not aware that his father is dead.
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The victim reported her husband's murder and her rape to police, and found one of the soldiers she accused of raping her on social media, finding out multiple women have also accused him of similar offences.
Last week she was told he had been killed in fighting, but has not been able to confirm this information.
The case has now become the first alleged rape by Russian soldiers to be officially investigated by Ukrainian authorities, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova announced last week.
Maria Mezentseva, an MP for the city of Kharkiv, spoke of the case on Sunday, and insisted the country "will not be silent" about the crimes being committed against the women.
She said: "There is one case which was very widely discussed recently because it’s been recorded and proceeded with [by] the prosecutor’s office.
"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.
"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."
Ukrainian politicians have reported the systematic sexual abuse of women by Russian forces since the invasion began on 24 February.
Rape was officially recognised as a war crime in 2008, with Dymtro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, vowing to prosecute troops who had committed such actions.
Kuleba has previously welcomed a call to create a special tribunal to punish Putin, but added it was “difficult” to talk about international law amid the country’s current suffering.