Nine civilians, including two children, have been shot dead in the Russian-occupied city of Volnovakha, Donetsk region of Ukraine, the Russian Investigative Committee reported on Saturday.
According to the published statement, the bodies were discovered in a private house, with all of them having sustained gunshot wounds. The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case under the article murder of over two individuals, including minors. No other details have been officially released.
Russian independent media outlet ASTRA reported, citing local residents, neighbours, and relatives of the victims, that the murder was committed by a Russian serviceman.
A family of four — a married couple Andrey and Nataliya as well as their two children — and five other people that were present in the house at the moment of the shooting were all killed. According to an acquaintance of the married couple, the Russian serviceman nursed a grievance against Andrey, and he killed all nine victims on Friday, when the family was gathered together celebrating a relative’s birthday.
“Higher ups arrived at the scene immediately and started trying to cover it all up, the neighbours were told to stay quiet,” the acquaintance told ASTRA.
A distant relative told ASTRA that “not much is known, servicemen riding bikes killed them, and all of the [victims] were lying in bed, so it was done when they were sleeping”. One of the neighbours alleged that the victims were shot in the head. According to eyewitnesses, the house was then doused with water to hide the evidence.