Santi Palacios

Photographer
     
THE BUCHA MASSACRE
Public Story
THE BUCHA MASSACRE
Copyright Santi Palacios 2024
Updated Jul 2023
Location Bucha, Ukraine
Topics Spotlight
Bucha, Ukraine | 2022 

On February 24, 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine opened a new chapter in the history of Europe. The conflict which had been unfolding in the east of the country since 2014 brutally spread to the rest of the territory, generating a shock wave that ultimately reached Europe and also the rest of the world. 

The city of Bucha, north west of Kyiv, will go down in history as one of the most significant landmarks upon which atrocities were perpetrated during the invasion. This residential town was taken by Russian forces in the early stages of the war, and remained under their rule for a month. People who did not have the time or means to flee remained isolated, with virtually no communication with the outside world. There they were confined, suffering an extent of violence and fear which would only become known after the withdrawal of Russian troops. Those were Bucha’s darkest days. After the occupation, details of the executions, murders, and abuses emerged. 

This photo essay captures the immediate sensations and images in the days and weeks that followed, documenting scenes in which a trail of war crimes is evident. The signs of violence on the corpses, the desolation of the landscape, and the shocked faces of the survivors and their testimonies spoke of a massacre whose real dimension hadn’t yet been realized.

Nearly 500 civilians were killed in Bucha while about 3,500 survivors were trapped, enduring frequent bombardments and a lack of electricity, water, and heating. In the days that followed, in the midst of the shock, the desire for recovery and a return to relative normality were also experienced. The International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes.

The images in this essay capture one of the darkest chapters of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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THE BUCHA MASSACRE by Santi Palacios
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