Ukrainians in Bermuda warn scale of Russian brutality in their country still to be revealed
Russian troops in Ukraine have committed atrocities against civilians not seen since the Second World War, it has been claimed.
But citizens of the war-torn nation who live in Bermuda warned that the full horror of what was happening in their homeland had yet to emerge.
Reports said Bucha, a suburb of the capital, Kyiv, had seen some of the worst atrocities of the conflict.
Olha Lytovchenko, 30, a waitress at the Hamilton Princess, said her family home was close to Bucha.
She added: “I’m able to watch Ukrainian news and able to see the stories that are being shared and it’s devastating.
“It’s much worse than what you see on BBC or CNN. You just can’t imagine the horror and terror that Russia has inflicted on our country.”
She added: “My family’s apartment is on the Kyiv city border just five kilometres from Bucha. I have friends in Bucha.
“On Monday, I came back from work and started to read all the news and see pictures of Bucha after the Russians had left. I’ve been crying ever since.
“It hurts so much because I recognise the streets, I recognise the houses. I feel so much pain for all of those people who have died. There are so many dead bodies.
“I want people to know and understand how bad the situation is, but international news doesn’t show you everything.”
Ukrainians, who have been in daily contact with family and friends in the war-torn country, spoke out as the first reports of the devastation left behind by retreating Russian forces were released.
Alex Kryvchenko, who also works at the Hamilton Princess, said Russian troops retreating from towns in the east of Ukraine were implementing a scorched-earth policy.
He added: “We are getting our territory back but what’s happening in places like Bucha is terrible — it’s a disaster.
“The Russians are destroying Ukraine because they realise that they can’t take it.”
Mr Kryvchenko said he was tempted to return home and join in the fight for freedom after Russia launched an invasion six weeks ago.
But he added he had realised that he could make a bigger contribution from Bermuda.
Mr Kryvchenko said: “If you don’t have military experience you can do something like district protection.”
He explained district protection involved being issued vintage AK-47 automatic rifles and being assigned to protect specific areas.
Mr Kryvchenko said: “A lot of my friends wanted to sign up, but the problem with a big city like Kyiv is that there are plenty of volunteers but not enough weapons.
“We have guys who want to fight but we don’t have enough weapons and ammunition.”
Mr Kryvchenko said he had decided to spend his spare time raising funds and sending the cash home.
He added: “I feel it’s my duty to do something and, if I can’t kill the enemy, then I have to contribute in other ways.
“I have connections here that I can use to get vital supplies to people back home.
“It’s hard, but I feel that Ukraine is really strong and I have never been more proud of where I’m from than I am now.“
Mariana Andrusiv, 34, a property manager originally from Lviv in the west of Ukraine, said: “There are probably cities that are in a worse situation than Bucha that were occupied for much longer.”
She added: “Russian troops may be moving out, but missiles are still coming down. They are targeting energy depots and food warehouses.
“Everyone who I’m talking to right now is waking up in the morning and are just thankful they are alive.”
Ms Andrusiv said it was essential for European security that Ukraine was not defeated.
She added: “We believe in our army — it’s strong — but we also know that it’s not over yet.
“If Ukraine falls, I’m telling you Putin is going to go further — we know the Russians. It’s going to be bad for everyone. It’s a big threat to Europe.”
Mr Kryvchenko and countrywoman Jane Nelson were among a group that set up a fundraising effort through the Bermuda Red Cross.
Ukrainians in Bermuda have also set up an island branch of Save Ukraine, which is sending funds and other essentials to areas where it is most needed.
Mr Kryvchenko said: “We’re helping people directly with our small organisation. We have a lot of contacts and it is fairly easy to send money to Ukraine.
The Save Ukraine Facebook page can be found here and the organisation is also setting up a website.