Ukrainian MPs accuse Russian soldiers of raping and executing pensioners

Ukrainian MPs have accused Russian soldiers of raping and executing pensioners.

The four women spoke to MPs on Thursday after being given special dispensation from the Ukrainian government to travel to the UK.

Lesia Vasylenko, Alona Shkrum, Maria Mezentseva and Olena Khomenko held a briefing with MPs and journalists, where they revealed how vulnerable Ukrainians are being treated.

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Ms Vasylenko explained: “When Putin was unable to take Ukraine and Kyiv in the three days as he envisaged that he would, he shifted his strategy to target specifically women and children.

Four Ukrainian MPs: Olena Khomenko (left), Lesia Vasylenko (centre-left), Alona Shkrum (centre-right) and Maria Mezentseva arrive at Downing Street, central London for talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“We have reports now through Ukraine, especially in cities which were hit the hardest, of women who were raped.

“These women are usually the ones who are unable to get out. We are talking about senior citizens.

"Most of these women, we have reports they have either been executed after the crime of rape or they have taken their own lives.”

Ms Mezentseva said humanitarian aid organisations were struggling to access Ukraine and didn't have a "presence".

She said: “There’s a mandate of those organisations which are receiving funds from the member states to be conducting operations on the ground.

“It feels really disgusting to be left on your own when we are defending international presence and we’re saying there will be a day where they are being attacked.”

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Asked about the impact on Ukrainian children, Ms Vasylenko accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of stealing “the childhood from millions of children”.

She continued: “I have two children myself. My youngest is nine months.

“We will see a generation of Ukrainians grow up with the burden of war already on their shoulders.

"Thousands of babies are being born every day and the first thing they see and they hear is missiles and sirens, and they have to spend their first hours of their lives in basements, which is not the way it is supposed to be.”

The group also called on British companies to leave Russia, including Marks and Spencer, which has 48 shops across Russia.

Urging them to leave, the MPs claimed any money made was being used by the Kremlin to fund the “rape and death” of Ukrainians.

Batkivschyna party MP Alona Shkrum said: “The UK has been very active in [this area] and it was one of the first countries with a lot of companies to leave [Russia], but there are three big companies left – Marks and Spencer has not left Russia, unfortunately Imperial Tobacco has not left Russia.

“This is very important for now, to put Putin in isolation economically and for him to know that he will not be getting an handshake from the world, from business. There will be no sport or cultural events for him because he is killing more than 100 kids in Ukraine and he keeps killing them.

“Every rouble they make right now goes to the army and soldiers killing Ukrainian kids, in Ukraine. Putin is not spending this money on any other necessities – just the army, which is shelling our cities.”

The group also met with the Prime Minister on Monday.

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