The dean of a Ukrainian seminary is among those who were killed by Russian soldiers in the suburb of Bucha in what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling a genocide.
Vitaliy Vinogradov, the dean of Kyiv Slavic Evangelical Seminary, was found dead on the streets of Bucha, a suburb of the capital city of Kyiv, according to multiple reports and the seminary’s own Facebook page. BaptistNews.com quoted social media reports as saying he was shot dead by Russian troops.
Thus far, some 200 bodies of citizens – some buried in a mass grave – have been uncovered in Bucha. Zelenskyy and other world leaders say Russian President Vladimir Putin and those under him are guilty of war crimes.
The bodies were found when Ukraine drove Russian soldiers out of Bucha after five weeks of Russian occupation.
“Our dear brother, Christian leader, employee and a wonderful person, was found dead in Bucha,” the seminary confirmed in a Facebook post. “There are no words to express all the heartache. We will all miss him dearly on this earth, but we are glad that his life goes on forever. … There are no words to express the sorrow of our hearts. He will be greatly missed!”
One woman told NBC News’ Richard Engel that Russian soldiers were going house to house in Bucha, breaking down doors with sledgehammers and looking for men.
“If you talked back, they shot you,” she said.
She buried four people outside her apartment in a grave, placing a green cross to mark the spot. Two of them were her neighbors. She did not know the other two. All four were machine-gunned by Russian troops, she said.
One of the woman’s neighbors – a man – survived only by jumping out of a third-story apartment window and running away, she shared.
“Please, don’t let this happen again,” she pleaded to the world.
Another woman told Engel she saw Russian soldiers shoot and kill her husband in the head.
The Russians dug a mass grave on the property of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies. Excavation began on March 10, with a 45-foot long trench showing up on a satellite image on March 31, according to The Hill.
Russia invaded Ukraine, unprovoked, in February.
Zelenskyy, speaking to the United Nations Monday, said those responsible should be held accountable for war crimes, similar to what happened after World War II.
“The Russian military searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country,” he said. “They killed entire families, adults and children, and they tried to burn the bodies.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alexey Furman/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.