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‘I realised I was alive’: Ukrainian man buried alive in mass grave by Russian soldiers

A feature of the conflict to date has been the frequent accounts emerging of alleged atrocities committed by Russian forces.

The latest to surface is that told by Mykola, one of three brothers reportedly forced to their knees on the edge of a freshly dug pit by a wheat field in northern Ukraine after being blindfolded and bound.

According to a harrowing account published by the Wall Street Journal, the first bullet killed the youngest brother, Yevgen, before the second hit Dymytro, the eldest.

The round aimed for Mykola hit him close to his right ear and came out above the right side of his mouth, the report said.

The Russian soldiers pushed Mykola into the grave on top of Yevgen before he felt Dymytro’s weight land on him – then realised someone was shovelling earth over them.

“I realised I was alive,” the 33-year-old said.

The bullet had skimmed the upper jaw on the inside of his cheek without causing any major damage but, according to the account, he then faced a torturous journey home after surviving execution – while evading Russian forces along the way.

His account is said to form the basis of one of thousands of cases Ukrainian prosecutors are building against Russian forces they accuse of perpetrating war crimes, including summary executions, torture and rape.

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