>> More evidence of Russian atrocities from Putin’s invasion... >> Outrage is growing over unimaginable atrocities... >> Ukrainian officials say Russian forces left behind a quote, “scene from a horror movie.” >> Putin takes us back almost to the Middle Ages.
The idea of siege warfare.
The idea that there is no civilian immunity.
>> NARRATOR: In a major special investigation... >> We were starting to see videos showing a lot of civilian deaths, bodies in the street.
>> I’m a reporter from the Associated Press... >> NARRATOR: FRONTLINE and The Associated Press map the patterns of violence... >> We’re able to identify first Russian troops... >> NARRATOR: And document hundreds of potential war crimes... >> Okay.
So, so far, you’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six bodies?
>> You’re no one, you are not a human being.
They can do anything with you: kill you, rape you, cut you into pieces.
>> NARRATOR: Through witness testimony... (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Hundreds of hours of footage... >> We got three terabytes worth of CCTV videos... >> NARRATOR: And intercepted audio recordings... (speaking Ukrainian) >> More horrific revelations surface from Bucha, Ukraine... >> NARRATOR: The link between the death of civilians... >> Russian soldiers killed my husband.
>> NARRATOR: ABUDCTION.
>> So that’s you in black?
(speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: And a violent military campaign... >> General Chaiko this was his zone of command.
(speaking Ukrainian) >> That battle space was his responsibility.
>> NARRATOR: The struggle to hold Russia accountable, and pursuit of justice.
>> The most responsible people are those who decided to wage this illegal war against Ukraine, period.
>> NARRTOR: Now, “Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes.” >> This morning, the mass exodus in Ukraine reaching historic levels.
The UN is reporting that nearly one in every four people living in Ukraine has been forced from their home by the Russian invasion.
>> NARRATOR: We arrived in Ukraine during the early weeks of the war.
Fighting in the north, south, and east of the country had already displaced nearly 10 million Ukrainians.
>> Hey Jeff.
We're good, we just crossed the border.
>> NARRATOR: Accounts of Russian atrocities were coming out.
>> For the Russian forces attacking Ukraine, killing large numbers of civilians is not uncommon.
>> NARRATOR: And the calls to hold President Vladimir Putin accountable were growing.
AP reporter Erika Kinetz was heading to the northern city of Chernihiv, which had been under attack by Russian forces for a month.
Hundreds of civilians had been killed there.
♪ ♪ Kinetz was part of a team of reporters from "Frontline" and the Associated Press focusing on war crimes.
>> Do you know how old the children were?
>> NARRATOR: Looking for evidence on the ground...
In news footage, and in the streams of video being posted by Ukrainians themselves.
(explosions) We started cataloging the daily attacks, both using our first-hand reporting, and online information like satellite data and social media posts.
>> In the first weeks of the war, as we were seeing this imagery come in, we began tracking it.
Trying to confirm where it occurred, when it occurred, and what it shows.
This is a video posted to Twitter.
We were starting to see videos showing both a lot of civilian deaths, bodies in the street, bodies in burned-out homes, bodies in cars.
A lot of government buildings were struck, but also cultural buildings, theaters, hospitals, schools.
Things that someday may be prosecuted by either Ukrainian or international officials in some sort of tribunal against Russian troops.
(explosion) There were a lot of missile strikes.
There were cluster bomb attacks.
They were designed to take out masses of troops, but in Ukraine they've been taking out clusters of civilians.
>> NARRATOR: A month into the invasion, we had documented and verified around 100 attacks involving potential war crimes.
>> The aftermath of an apartment building strike.
I remember geo-locating this one.
We're able to use this rather distinctive building to determine exactly where the collapsed building is.
We can usually find things in a video that's going to be in the background, like that building, to determine where this was.
♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: When we arrived, the apartment building was being torn down.
It had been bombed in a Russian air assault.
>> So your sister lived here.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> I'm so sorry for your loss, I'm sorry.
>> NARRATOR: Five members of Kateryna's family were killed.
♪ ♪ (conversing in Ukrainian) (rubble clattering) >> (sighs) (speaking Ukrainian) (crying) >> (speaking Ukrainian) (siren blares) >> NARRATOR: During the bombardment of places like Chernihiv, in the early weeks of the invasion... >> Explosions rocking several cities, including the capitol of Kyiv.
>> NARRATOR: Russian forces push towards the capital.
>> And there's little stopping Russia from threatening the capitol of Kyiv itself.
>> NARRATOR: But as the advance hit Ukrainian resistance and began to fail, the Russians waged a different kind of warfare in the suburbs of Kyiv.
>> Russia's withdrawal has revealed what look more like crime scenes than the aftermath of battle.
Bodies bearing signs of torture and rape.
>> NARRATOR: What they left behind when they retreated from the town of Bucha was a shocking scene of violence against civilians, and would change the world's view of war crimes in Ukraine.
>> Bucha, the suffering these people went through.
You're no one, you are not a human being.
They can do anything with you: kill you, rape you, cut you into pieces.
>> NARRATOR: To try to understand the scope of the atrocities in Bucha, we worked with visual investigators -SITU and Ukrainian drone videographers to create a 3D model of the town-- a map of the patterns of violence, and hundreds of potential war crimes.
>> Bucha is the most obvious case of the war crime, of the systemic war crimes committed by the Russian army.
>> NARRATOR: What happened here would lead us on a long investigation into the extent of the brutal campaign.
Who was behind it, and who could be held accountable?
The largest concentration of bodies in Bucha was found along Yablunska Street, a main road through the town's industrial section.
>> NARRATOR: We went there with AP videographer Sasha Stashevkyi.
He's based in Kyiv, and was one of the first journalists to arrive on the scene in Bucha after the Russian retreat.
>> Okay, this is Yablunska Street we're on now?
One body, with bicycle.
We found another one in a backyard.
One here, and another one here.
And another one... >> NARRATOR: Sasha filmed the bodies of more than a hundred dead civilians.
>> Hang on a sec.
So if we start from there, here you've got a body in the yard.
>> You've got one here?
>> With two cars.
And then you've got three bodies-- where were the bodies?
>> Like one was here, this bicycle was here and then two here.
>> So, so far, you've got one, two, three, four, five, six bodies?
>> And this is within, like, your first five minutes on Yablunska Street?
>> Okay, six bodies.
>> NARRATOR: The focal point of the killings was further down Yablunska Street at a nondescript office building that had become the Russians' de facto headquarters during the occupation.
>> And what's the address of this building?
>> Yablunska 144.
(indistinct chatter) And here was... eight bodies.
Some of them was clearly shoot in the head.
And some of them had, like eyes was... >> Blindfolded eyes.
>> Yeah, blindfolded eyes.
>> NARRATOR: Sasha had documented what looked like the point blank execution of eight men.
Almost immediately local prosecutors began building war crimes cases.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The effort was being led by Ruslan Kravchenko.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> There seem to have been a lot of killing on Yablunska Street.
How many bodies were found along Yablunksa?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: A month after the Russians left Bucha, officials were continuing to count how civilians had been killed.
Bodies were still arriving at the city morgue.
We went there with a local journalist we were working with, Taras Lazer.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Anna Dolid, a psychologist, was helping families find the bodies of their loved ones.
She and her colleagues were keeping a running list of the dead.
>> So this is how the list looks like.
>> So these are the numbers and the description, and the third column is?
>> This is the morgue where the bodies and the pictures.
>> Okay, so if we go to the end, how far?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> Okay.
>> NARRATOR: Around the corner, morgue workers were reading out the names of the bodies that had been found.
Tanya Boikiv had been searching for her husband, Kolya Moroz, for three weeks.
>> I want to tell...
I lost my love.
It's a big pain for me.
>> NARRATOR: The day we met her, her husband's body was being brought here.
(engine idling) (indistinct chatter) >> Russian soldiers killed my husband.
(speaking Ukrainian) (conversing in Ukrainian) ♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: As we followed Tanya, the trail of the killings led through the once-peaceful suburb of Bucha to the nearby village of Ozera.
She was bringing her husband's body home to be buried.
(dog barking) Petro Volinko had been with Kolya the day he disappeared.
He said the two of them had been taping up windows blown out by a mortar.
Some Russian soldiers approached them.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: He said the soldiers went through Kolya's phone and found videos from the local warehouse where he worked.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) ♪ ♪ >> (singing in Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (singing in Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) (people conversing in Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: After the funeral, a friend of Kolya's spoke with us.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: He showed us a picture of Kolya he said he'd gotten from a priest in the next town over.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Tanya had also seen the picture of Kolya that the priest had taken.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) ♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: The next day we went to find the priest who'd taken the picture of Kolya.
He was in a village called Zdvyzhivka, about nine miles from Ozera, on the road to Kyiv.
His name was Father Vasyl Bentsa.
We found him working at the local cemetery.
>> So tell us what happened.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Zdvyzhivka would end up being under Russian occupation for a month.
In the days after the soldiers retreated, one of his neighbors discovered five dead bodies.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: His photos showed the bodies of four other men alongside Kolya.
>> This is, who is this?
>> This is Kolya.
>> So their hands are bound.
His mouth is bound.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Father Bentsa said he didn't recognize any of the men, but he would eventually learn that three of them were from Ozera.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: By then, Father Bentsa had already had the bodies moved from the garden to the cemetery and buried them all together.
>> So why, why put five bodies in one grave?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Later, Father Bentsa took us to meet the men who found Kolya and the four other bodies.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Russian) >> Erika, Associated Press journalist, hello.
>> (speaking Russian) >> So the Russians had... were living in this rich house?
There was like a group of Russians staying there?
>> (speaking Russian) >> Okay, so what did you find when you went there?
>> (speaking Russian) >> Do you have any idea where these men were killed?
>> (speaking Russian) >> (speaking Russian) >> Can you show us?
>> (speaking Russian) >> (speaking Russian) >> You enter...
>> And here's the five bodies.
>> These are, yeah.
>> Okay, can we just walk to the house?
>> (speaking Russian) >> Who is the owner?
>> (speaking Russian) >> And he's not here now?
>> (speaking Russian) >> NARRATOR: What happened in Zdvyzhivka bore a striking resemblance to the executions less than 20 miles away in Bucha, at 144 Yablunska Street, where the Russians had their command center, and a place to process and interrogate civilians.
Torture and killing at 144 Yablunska would become the main focus for Ukraine's war crimes prosecutors.
Taras Semkiv from the Prosecutor General's Office was put in charge of the case.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> Oh God, these poor people.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> What do you think the odds are of you getting any of the people responsible for the atrocities at 144 Yablunska into an actual court of law and prosecuting them in a court?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The effort to prosecute war crimes in Ukraine traces back decades.
To London, 1945, where the foundations of war crimes law were created.
It was here in the months after the defeat of Hitler that the victor nations created the laws known as the Nuremberg Charter, named after the city in Germany where Nazi leaders would soon stand trial.
>> This is the building in Nuremberg where top Nazis are being tried for many crimes.
>> Crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
>> NARRATOR: Nineteen Nazi officials would be convicted under the these new laws.
On this afternoon in London, there was a ceremony being held for one of the authors of the Nuremberg Charter.
>> He is literally the individual who came up with the idea of putting the concept of crimes against humanity into the Nuremberg statute.
>> NARRATOR: Phillipe Sands is an historian and international human rights lawyer who is advocating that Vladimir Putin be prosecuted by the Nuremberg standards developed here.
>> They sat down in London and they basically invented three new international crimes.
One was crimes against humanity.
>> The rounds have been so malignant and so devastating.
>> The second new crime that was created was genocide, the destruction of groups.
And the third international crime what was then called crimes against peace.
>> Crimes against the peace of the world.
>> The crime of aggression, waging a manifestly illegal war.
It was the one that was the most important for the judges, because all the other crimes flowed from the decision to wage an illegal war.
>> NARRATOR: It would be nearly half a century before the Nuremberg principles would be put into practice again.
(jet overhead, gunfire) >> First thing this morning, the convoy left Srebrenica... >> One official said that at least 3,000 Muslims had been massacred.
>> NARRATOR: With war crimes tribunals for conflicts in Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
>> Every day, thousands of people fleeing the war-torn capital of Kigali.
Yet, they are Rwanda's lucky ones-- they're alive.
>> The trial at the International Criminal Tribunal was intended to shed light on events surrounding the Rwandan genocide.
>> This is the beginning of the first trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
>> People thought that the Yugoslavia tribunal was going to accomplish very little.
That it would try a few low- level camp guards, and then would fade away.
And what we saw instead is that it was actually able to indict and prosecute the senior leadership that was responsible for crimes in, in former Yugoslavia.
>> The prosecutor versus Slobodan Milosevic.
>> NARRATOR: Clint Williamson was one of the war crimes prosecutors in the case against Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.
>> What started out as something that was almost unthinkable has evolved into something quite different.
Heads of state are no longer seen as being untouchable.
With the creation of the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals, it really changed the trajectory of, of... of this ideal of international justice.
>> NARRATOR: In the wake of those tribunals, there was a push to create a permanent court based on the Nuremberg principles to prosecute war crimes, like the targeting of civilians.
>> What we need is a permanent court structure.
>> NARRATOR: It became the International Criminal Court, the ICC.
The court went on to obtain convictions in other countries, but never against Vladimir Putin, despite an increasing outcry over war crimes.
In 2014, with the invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
In 2015, with the war in Syria to help the dictator Bashar al-Assad.
>> Putin takes us back almost to the Middle Ages.
The idea of siege warfare.
The idea that there is no civilian immunity.
Anyone that's on that side is the enemy, the only way to survive is to surrender to us.
(explosions) Ancient cities, tens of thousands of people killed, hospitals a major point of attack.
This was the approach and violated rules like the "no attacks on hospitals or ambulances" that have been the oldest things in the Geneva Conventions, been with us for a hundred, you know, 160 years.
Out the window.
>> NARRATOR: Former war crimes prosecutor Stephen Rapp says the ICC has been no match for Putin's prominent place on the world stage.
>> There was no way that there was going to be any international court established for Syria-- Russia would veto it.
No referral to the International Criminal Court.
>> Those in favor of the draft resolution, please raise their hands.
>> In fact, Russia and China vetoed that one offered in May of 2014.
>> Those against.
>> Even any kind of modest sanctions against those that were engaged in this conduct of use of poison gas or anything else, vetoed by Russia in the security council.
So the clear message is, "I can get away with this."
>> NARRATOR: Five months into the war in Ukraine, "Frontline" and the AP had documented more than 300 attacks involving potential war crimes.
And Ukrainians officials were saying they were investigating more than 20,000 cases.
(camera shutters click) >> Good morning.
>> NARRATOR: In July, at the Hague, home to the International Criminal Court, justice ministers came together from around the world.
>> ...work with common purpose... >> ...on the screen, Mr. President, it is very good... >> NARRATOR: Their focus: accountability for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
>> And the floor is yours.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The Ukrainians were lobbying for a new, special tribunal apart from the ICC, using the Nuremberg principle, the crime of aggression-- waging an illegal war against Ukraine.
>> The war of aggression Russia is waging against Ukraine is the largest and most brutal war of aggression in Europe since 1945.
>> The evidence is then proving an illegal war.
The war is not authorized by the Security Council.
The war is not being carried out in self defense, and the war is not being carried out for humanitarian purposes.
>> Unfortunately, there is currently no international court or tribunal that could effectively try Russia's top political and military leadership for committing the crime of aggression against Ukraine.
>> NARRATOR: The ICC doesn't have jurisdiction over Putin for the crime of aggression because Russia, like the U.S. and other countries, never agreed to give it the authority to pursue that charge.
>> This is why Ukraine calls on the establishment of a special tribunal which would have a specific jurisdiction over the crime of aggression against Ukraine.
The crime of aggression is called the mother of all crimes, right?
Because you don't have war crimes if you don't have the crime of aggression.
So the best way to get... to prosecute personally President Putin is to have a special ad hoc tribunal for the crime of aggression.
>> Unlike proving war crimes and crimes against humanity or genocide, which are labor intensive, take huge amounts of time, the creation of a special criminal tribunal brings certain advantages.
>> I encourage all of you to look into this initiative and proceed with implementation of the initiative without delay.
>> I've used the expression from basketball, it's pretty much a slam dunk in relation to the crime of aggression.
As compared to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, it's straightforward, it's neat, it's simple, it's quick, and it's cost efficient.
Why wouldn't you do it?
>> We need to realize this is not about fiefdoms, it's not about different entities, struggling and competing and rubbing against each other.
>> NARRATOR: At the conference, the ICC's chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, sidestepped the issue.
But in an interview with us later, he pushed back against the idea of a special tribunal.
>> I mean, we're a court.
We're here, we have a building; you're in it.
We have judges that are upstairs, we have rules of procedure.
Everything is up and ready and it's in operation.
And my own view is we have clear jurisdiction.
Victims, I don't have much tol... they don't have much tolerance in my view for vanity projects or distractions.
They want the law to be put into force as diligently as possible.
And if states want to have other parallel processes is really for states.
>> NARRATOR: Khan has personally been to Ukraine and the ICC has dozens of investigators on the ground, looking into potential war crimes committed during Putin's invasion.
>> Can you indict Putin?
>> You ask about an individual who's the head of state of a government.
No prosecutor worth his or her salt should put the cart before the horse.
No prosecutor worth his or her salt should start with the target.
They should start with the evidence and decide what the evidence shows.
We have to start by the principle, and the principle is to get to the truth, get to the evidence.
And then we will... the first to hear of that will be the judges of the ICC.
>> International Criminal Court is telling us, "Don't go ahead with your special tribunal because this is against our interests.
We need to maintain integrity of the international criminal legal order and ICC should remain the only judicial body to try everything related to international criminal law."
And my response is that, "In this case, your interests have nothing to do with interests of justice."
>> NARRATOR: While we were reporting outside Ukraine, we got new leads about the Russian military operation in Bucha and the surrounding areas.
>> I have a bunch of news.
>> Okay, okay, I'm listening.
>> NARRATOR: Our colleague in Ukraine, Taras Lazar, had been given notes and documents left behind by Russian soldiers after they pulled out at the end of March.
>> So the document I saw was named exactly like this: Russian troops direction, Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel.
I have all that written down, a lot of different military units, including OMON, including assault troops, including regular army.
>> How many units are we talking about?
>> 15, okay.
>> 15 military units.
>> Okay, that sounds very promising.
Does this connect up to Ozera and Zdvyzhivka?
>> NARRATOR: The troops were part of a campaign under the command of Colonel-General Alexander Chaiko, one of Putin's top military leaders, seen in this Russian state footage handing out medals near Zdvyzhivka during the occupation.
>> (speaking Russian) >> This was his battle zone.
Zdvyzhivka, Ozera, Babyntsi, Hostomel, Bucha, Irpin, this was his zone of command.
Everything that happened in that battle space was his responsibility.
He had been the commander of Russia's troops in Syria.
What stands out is the history that he had in Syria and the allegations of violations of international humanitarian law that already clung to him as he was coming into Ukraine as a leader of Russia's offensive.
♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: We now had information pointing to specific military units, and their general, that could be implicated in the mass killings in Bucha, as well as the deaths of Kolya Moroz and others.
We brought the materials we had been collecting to a group in London we'd been working with to investigate war crimes, the Center for Information Resilience.
>> So what we did with the information you gave us is we started, A, putting together a timeline to put it into sequence; B, putting that on map, and what we also did is cross-correlated that with data from our own database, which is based on open source, social media postings, and so on.
>> NARRATOR: Using satellite data, and video we had given them, CIR mapped out something about the Russian military campaign that hadn't been reported before, in the town of Zdvyzhivka, where Kolya Moroz was found.
>> So the bodies were found, and correct me if I'm wrong here, I believe, judging from the drone footage you shared, that the bodies were found around here in the garden, near the rear fence.
>> Right near the rear fence.
>> What we do have is satellite imagery to confirm at least the presence of Russian military.
We can see a lot of tire tracks around the town.
There's a definite window of time between the 25th and 28th of February, when a huge amount of Russian forces descended on this town.
>> So are these all, these are all Russian vehicles then?
They're everywhere, here on this road, on this road, there's convoys everywhere.
>> Yeah, absolutely.
You can see this, this, sort of, this other side of the main road is full of this sort of convoy, where they're actually out walking around there.
>> NARRATOR: As the Russians had done at 144 Yablunska in Bucha, they created a base in the village; this one, a major hub for thousands of troops occupying the area.
>> This is the road into Zdvyzhivka.
And here is the kindergarten that they used as one of their headquarters buildings.
One of the football pitches they used for landing helicopters.
Carry on down that road and eventually we reach the area with the Baptist church, right here.
And here's the big compound that the Russians used as their main base.
>> NARRATOR: The satellite images and video from local residents show the military encampment in the woods around Zdvyzhivka.
>> It's straight down the road into the Russian base, then continue on the road, and then you reach the forest, it's all on one long road.
When you look at what they had set up there, you know, the sauna, all of the tents, the accommodation...
It seems that this was considered a safe, relatively relaxed place to be.
>> Have you ever seen this kind of infrastructure near Kyiv?
Or this is sort of unusual?
>> This is rare.
>> Yeah, I'd agree.
>> NARRATOR: It was a particularly strategic location, not far from Kyiv and the airport in nearby Hostomel.
>> We can see that Zdvyzhivka is quite a sort of useful position for that kind of advance towards Hostomel, and then that push towards Kyiv, right?
>> So what does all of this tell =you about this place and its strategic role?
>> So, this is presumably being used as a sort of forward operating base that's a bit to the rear, so that they can bring troops back here, they can come back here to resupply and replenish, bring the wounded back here.
But it's not right on the front line, so it's... this is where their, this is where they've set up, effectively, the headquarters for the area.
>> NARRATOR: The CIR analysts had also made an important discovery about the events preceding Kolya's abduction in Ozera.
So this is footage released by the Ukrainian armed forces on the 14th of March.
Right near where we see these smoke plumes, we then see flashes going off.
And that means that they have accurately hit Russian artillery munitions and set them off.
Which means this is an extremely well-informed strike.
It's perfectly logical for the Russians to suspect a spotter in the area.
>> NARRATOR: It was the day after the Ukrainian missile strike outside Ozera that Russian soldiers came to Kolya's house.
>> What I would read from this is that they're probably taken to a site in Zdvyzhivka where, because it's closer to the administrative center for operations there, there's specialized interrogators or counterintelligence personnel who are then conducting an interrogation to try and get any information out of them.
So they've not just been stopped on the street and executed in a sort of fit of violence.
These are people who were clearly being taken somewhere for processing by interrogation, torture, and then execution.
>> NARRATOR: Our investigation took us back to Zdvyzhivka in the summer to find out more about the Russian occupation.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: We spoke to more than 50 residents.
They told us what it was like when the Russians were there; many of them showed us video they'd taken.
>> Can you show me some of the images that you took, the photos and videos that you took?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The Russians finally pulled out of Zdvyzhivka at the end of March.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) ♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: The bodies of dead civilians began to appear almost immediately.
First, Kolya Moroz, and the other four men.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) (singing) >> NARRATOR: The body count would rise to 16; far more than previously known.
The regional police were now investigating the killings here as part of their rising war crimes case load.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: They were still finding bodies while we were there.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: A pattern was emerging.
Like Bucha-- abductions, torture, executions.
We began looking more closely into what might have made these people targets of the Russians.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: In Kyiv, we were allowed inside a National Security operations center.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Here they are able to pinpoint Russian attacks against Ukrainian forces.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Oleksiy Danilov, the head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, showed us a map of a Russian division's intended path of attack on the capital.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> This is one unit that was supposed to follow this line all the way down from Belarus to the southern part of the capital.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> So that is a lightning strike, very fast.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The map was stamped with the mark of the 76th Airborne Assault Division, an element of General Chaiko's command and led by Major General Sergey Chubarykin.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The map showed where the Russians encountered Ukrainian resistance.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> Zdvyzhivka is here.
What are all these red marks?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> They got attacked here, all here in the forest?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> You mentioned that you would get reports from local people of where Russian vehicles and troops were located.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> What difference did it make?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The forces under General Chaiko's command violently went after this civilian participation in the war.
They were ordered to block and destroy nationalist resistance in what were called cleansing operations-- "zachistka" in Russian.
(phone beeps) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: In intercepted phone calls home that we obtained, Russian soldiers described targeting anyone who might pose a threat.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: One of the men who was swept up in these cleansing operations was Andryi Voznenko.
He had been helping the Ukrainian military spot Russian positions.
We met one of his friends in Ozera.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: One morning in late March, Russian soldiers carrying out a sweep took Andryi.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Serghiy Kutcher was there when the soldiers arrived.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: A week and a half later, Andriy's body was found rightnext to Kolya Moroz.
right next to Kolya Moroz.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Tanya said that when the Russian soldiers took Kolya away, they accused him of being a spotter for the Ukrainian military.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: These Russian sweeps took on an especially violent nature in Bucha.
We were able to get a vivid view, as Russian soldiers carried them out.
From a source in Ukraine, the AP and "Frontline" obtained hundreds of hours of closed circuit TV footage, recorded by cameras positioned throughout Bucha.
>> We got, like, three terabytes worth of CCTV videos from Bucha, on a hard drive.
>> NARRATOR: Much of it has never been seen publicly.
Many soldiers obscured identifying markings, but there were visible symbols of the 76th Airborne Assault Division and related units.
(phone beeps) >> Hello.
>> NARRATOR: And in the intercepted phone calls we obtained, soldiers admitted they had orders to kill civilians.
>> (speaking Russian) >> NARRATOR: It was one of these deadly sweeps in Bucha, that culminated in the massacre at 144 Yablunska Street.
(thudding) >> On the morning of March 4, the Russians began sweeping up everybody from the area, checking them, documents, phones, houses, looking for weapons, looking for spotters.
And they take them all to 144.
And then while they were at 144, what neighbors told us is that the Russians searched their houses.
We know that during the fighting on March 4, this group of nine guys are escorted across the street from number 31 Yablunska to 144 Yablunska.
♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: We were able to find a man who was among those captured that day, Ivan Skiba.
>> So that's you in black?
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> Most of the Ukrainian troops are able to flee to Irpin.
These guys, who are manning that checkpoint closest to 144, in the chaos, get lost.
>> NARRATOR: Ivan said he and the other men hid inside a house at 31 Yablunska Street.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) (insects chirping) >> So the Russians are shouting at them, "To the (bleep) right, to the right, dumbass.
Where are you going?
To the (bleep) right."
And there they go off to the right, to 144 Yablunska.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) ♪ ♪ (sighs) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: Ivan has given his account to Ukrainian war crimes prosecutors.
♪ ♪ >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Taras Semkiv, the Ukrainian war crimes prosecutor, told us that those responsible for the killings at 144 Yablunska, were soldiers from Russia's 76th Airborne Assault Division.
(soldiers chanting) Led by Major General Sergey Chubarykin, and under the command of Colonel General Alexander Chaiko.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Ukrainian prosecutors have already issued a broad indictment against Generals Chubarykin and Chaiko for leading the invasion of Ukraine.
They are still looking for evidence of direct orders that they would need to prosecute them for specific crimes, like 144 Yablunksa.
But there's another approach they're calling for to charge Russian commanders such as Chaiko: a war crimes prosecution at the International Criminal Court, using the laws of "command responsibility," that hold military leaders accountable for the actions of their troops.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: General Chaiko had come to his command in Ukraine after earning the Hero of Russia award from Vladimir Putin for his leadership in Syria.
(explosion) He'd overseen the campaign in Idlib Province... (explosion) ...that resulted in over 1,000 civilian deaths.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: The prosecutors say General Chaiko was in Zdvyzhivka for more than a week before Kolya Moroz and the other men were found.
We spoke to eyewitnesses who saw him.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Petro Karaba said the Russian headquarters in town was heavily guarded and he saw the general there multiple times.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: It was the day before Kolya's body was found, less than a mile away, behind a house along the main street.
Like other residents we spoke to, he said he'd seen Russian soldiers apprehending people on the street.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: A few doors down was the house where Kolya and the others were found.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: When we arrived at the house this time, the owner was standing at the door.
He led us to the garden out back.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> NARRATOR: Evidence of the killing still littered the ground.
Bullet casings... a cut zip tie... and the bullet holes in the fence.
>> (speaking Ukrainian) >> Yeah, it was Kolya, and one of the two bodies that was there.
♪ ♪ When we when we first met Tanya at the morgue it seemed like Kolya's abduction was random.
And the neighbors, they asked why was he taken?
Why was this innocent man taken?
How could this happen?
It's just random.
But Kolya's death was not random, Voznenko's death was not random.
Ivan Skiba's torture was not random.
Those guys who were marched from 31 Yablunksa to 144, that was not random.
That was part of a strategy.
It was strategic violence.
This was a Russian military strategy that has been used over time in past conflicts that has been used across Ukraine now to seek out and destroy any potential threat.
And the way that that strategy is implemented was with very little regard for the laws of war, and with quite extreme brutality.
>> NARRATOR: A special war crimes tribunal for Ukraine has still not been created.
And the International Criminal Court has not issued any indictments.
By the end of October 2022, we had documented over 530 attacks in Ukraine involving potential war crimes.
Ukrainian authorities had opened more than 40,000 investigations.
♪ ♪ >> (speaking Ukrainian) >> Go to pbs.org/frontline to see more of our reporting with The Associated Press.
>> So, these are the number and the description... >> And to examine potential war crimes in Ukraine in our war crimes tracker.
>> In the first weeks of the war, as we were seeing this imagery come in, we began tracking it... >> Connect with FRONTLINE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and stream anytime on the PBS Video App, YouTube or pbs.org/frontline.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org.
>> For more on this and other Frontline programs visit our website at pbs.org/frontline.
♪ ♪ Frontline's "Putin's Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes" is available on Amazon Prime Video.