The 64th motorized rifle brigade from Khabarovsk Krai is a Russian unit whose name will long be associated with war crimes in the Ukrainian city of Bucha. However, almost no one has survived from it.
Last week, a photo of a wall with mourning photos of 44 soldiers and officers from this brigade was published on the VKontakte social network. The Russian edition of Radio Svoboda was able to confirm the death of most of them. The author of the photo claims that the faces of only a tenth of his colleagues who died during the “special military operation” were placed on the wall. Nothing actually remains of the 64th Brigade, which Vladimir Putin named “Guards”, but disbanding it would be an indirect admission of Russia’s responsibility for war crimes in Ukraine.
The photo was released by Khabarovsk military medic Alexei Astashov on the evening of August 7 and deleted a day later. The wall commemorating the dead – most of them young boys – is located in the lobby of the military camp in the village of Kniaze-Volkonskoe, 20 km from Khabarovsk, where the 64th motorized rifle brigade was stationed. “Everyone except the girls and recruits joined the special military operation. 95% of the officers, including part-time conscripts, signed the contract on their knees before they left. Many were transferred to Ukraine directly from the scientists in neighboring Belarus,” the military doctor said. According to Astashov, only those awarded posthumously with the Order of Bravery found a place on the wall. According to the medic, the brigade numbered about 1,500 people, and the dead must have been several hundred.
On August 8, the authorities in Bucha summarized the results of the search operations in the city after the occupation by Russian troops. Of the 458 civilians killed, 419 were killed by the Russian military, most in their cars during the evacuation, often entire families. Among the victims there are 12 people under the age of 21. Numerous cases of executions of people on the streets, in houses and basements have been recorded. Ten people are still missing.
Alexey Astashov, however, refuses to believe that the atrocities in Bucha were committed by members of the 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade. According to him, they were not located there. In the accounts of eyewitnesses from Bucha, however, the same names are present as those of the dead soldiers of the executioner brigade.