August 14, 2022

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Back to death's door

Back to death’s door

This street in Butzga has become a symbol of Russian brutality in the Ukraine war.

Now the road has been opened, and new cement has been laid. Cars move back and forth, families roll in strollers – kids ride at full speed.

Bucha, Ukraine (Aftenposten): Many unpleasant surprises await the Russian soldiers who lived here.

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We caution against strong images in this case.

It happens that Vasil Patakivsky forgot what happened in the neighborhood in March of this year. The 51-year-old goes out into the street and imagines that his neighbor Holodia is walking around and asks if they should have a beer. He sees Feta on the street about to fix something. He sees Jura on his way to his car.

Batakievsky knew them from childhood. They have grown up together. As adults, they lived side by side. Now everyone is dead.

He shakes his head and takes a deep breath.

– I can’t imagine what happened to them.

He takes a rest, closes his eyes and holds his hand on his temple. Then he tells what he knows about the fate of his friends.

Vasyl Batakevsky returned to Potzga, after the Russians left the city in early April.

We are in Botsja. The suburb north of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, sent shock waves around the world in late March. Then the Russian soldiers who occupied the area withdrew. Hundreds of executed men and women, young and old, were left behind. When Aftenposten was in the same neighborhood in the first week of April, we were able to count seven bodies in the gardens and along the road.