Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday announced sanctions against Russian military personnel believed to be involved in alleged human rights violations in the town of Bucha during the early stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"The Department of State is designating Azatbek Omurbekov, also known as 'The Butcher of Bucha,' a Colonel in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the extrajudicial killings of unarmed Ukrainian civilians from Andriivka, Ukraine," Blinken stated. "The Department is also designating Daniil Frolkin, a Guard Corporal in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation due to his involvement in a gross violation of human rights, namely the extrajudicial killing of an unarmed Ukrainian civilian in Andriivka."
The sanctions bar Omurbekov's and Frolkin's entry into the United States and apply to their immediate family members as well.
Bucha is a suburb of Kyiv situated to the north of the city. Occupied by the Russians early in the war, it was a key launchpad for the Kremlin's ultimately unsuccessful efforts to take the Ukrainian capital. Upon the Russian retreat, Ukrainians alleged human rights violations by Moscow's forces.
"Colonel Omurbekov was the commanding officer of Russia's 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade during the period of time that Russia’s forces controlled the Ukrainian town Andriivka," Blinken continued. "Omurbekov later led the brigade to Bucha, Ukraine, where the Department of State determined that the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade killed, beat, dismembered, burned, and conducted mock executions of civilians."
"The reports that Omurbekov and Frolkin were involved in gross violations of human rights, as documented by NGOs and independent investigations, are serious and credible," he added.
Andriivka is a now-destroyed Ukrainian village south of Bakhmut, which has seen intense fighting over the past year.
"After accounts of the brigade’s brutality emerged, the Kremlin responded by issuing a statement indicating that Russian Federation President Putin had conferred honors upon the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, and Russia’s Ministry of Defense promoted Omurbekov and praised his leadership," the statement went on.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.