Satellite Images Showed Bodies Lay in Bucha for Weeks, While Russia still Occupied Town


5 April 2022, Apia Samoa. A satellite image analysis conducted by The New York Times appears to disprove Moscow’s claims that the massacre in Bucha, Ukraine happened after Russian soldiers had left the town around March 30.

Since gruesome images out of Bucha emerged over the weekend, the Russian Ministry of Defense has denied responsibility for any of the killings and decried the reports as a “hoax.” On Sunday, the ministry even suggested the bodies were placed on the street after Russian troops withdrew, the Times writes.

This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows a view of Yablonska Street in Bucha, Ukraine, on March 19, 2022, when bodies of civilians were on the street and found by Ukrainian officials weeks later when Russian forces withdrew – Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies/AFP

However, a Times‘ review of video and satellite images shows “many of the civilians were killed more than three weeks ago, when Russia’s military was in control of the town.”

For example, when cross-referenced with a video filmed April 2, satellite images provided to the Times showed that at least 11 bodies seen in the April 2 video had been on the street since March 11, “when Russia, by its own account, occupied the town,” the Times writes.

More specifically, the images show human body-sized objects on Yablonska Street in Bucha between March 9 and March 11. The objects “appear in the precise positions in which the bodies were found after Ukrainian forces reclaimed Bucha, as the footage from April 2 shows,” the Times adds. Further examination reveals the objects were in those positions for more than three weeks.

The situation out of Bucha has so far sparked international condemnation and promises of more sanctions on Russia. Germany and France on Monday expelled numerous Russian diplomats, while President Biden called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes.

One video filmed by a local council member on April 1 shows multiple bodies scattered along Yablonska Street in Bucha. Satellite images provided to The Times by Maxar Technologies show that at least 11 of those had been on the street since March 11, when Russia, by its own account, occupied the town.

To confirm when the bodies appeared, and when the civilians were likely killed, the Visual Investigations team at The Times conducted a before-and-after analysis of satellite imagery.

The Times reports satellite images showing more than 12 bodies along a stretch of road.

The causes of death are unclear. Some of the bodies were beside what appears to be an impact crater. Others were near abandoned cars. Three of the bodies lay beside bicycles. Some have their hands bound behind their backs with white cloth. The bodies were scattered over more than half a mile of Yablonska Street.

A second video taken on Yablonska Street shows three more bodies. One lies beside a bicycle, another near an abandoned car. Satellite imagery shows that the abandoned cars and the nearby body appear between March 20 and 21.

A dead body near abandoned cars on Yablonska Street in Bucha, Ukraine, on Apr. 2. The body had been on the street since Mar. 21, satellite imagery shows.
A dead body near abandoned cars on Yablonska Street in Bucha, Ukraine, on Apr. 2. The body had been on the street since Mar. 21, satellite imagery shows.Credit…Kievskiy Dvizh via Instagram / Maxar Technologies

These are just some of the civilian bodies discovered since Saturday. The Associated Press published  images of at least six dead men lying together in the rear of an office building, some with hands tied behind their backs. The building is one mile west of the other victims found along Yablonska Street.

Another mile further along, a photographer with The Times discovered the body of a man with a gunshot wound to his head lying beside a bicycle.

Source: The New York Times