How Russian soldiers ran a ‘cleansing’ operation in Bucha

Ira Gavriluk holds her cat as she walks next to the bodies of her husband, brother, and another man, who were killed outside her home in Bucha, Ukraine, April 4. Russian soldiers in intercepted phone conversations called their sweeps of Bucha and other towns outside Kyiv “zachistka” – cleansing. They hunted people on lists prepared by their intelligence services and went door to door to identify and neutralize potential threats. When troops unable to reach Kyiv faced mounting losses, they became more erratic, conducting their sweeps with rising levels of sometimes drunken violence. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

A neighbor comforts Natalia Vlasenko, whose husband, Pavlo Vlasenko, and grandson, Dmytro Chaplyhin, called Dima, were killed by Russian forces, as she cries in her garden in Bucha, Ukraine, April 4. Russian soldiers picked up Dima during a Mar. 4 sweep, accused him of being a spotter helping the Ukrainian military and brought him to their headquarters at 144 Yablunska Street. Ukrainian prosecutors now say those responsible for the violence at 144 Yablunska were soldiers from the 76th Guards Airborne Assault Division, under the ultimate battlefield command of Alexander Chaiko, a colonel general known for his brutality as leader of Russia’s troops in Syria. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BUCHA, Ukraine — The first man arrived at 7:27 a.m. Russian soldiers covered his head and marched him up the driveway toward a nondescript office building.