Russian President Vladimir Putin has given a special honor to the military unit accused of butchering hundreds of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.
In a decree posted on the Kremlin’s website, Putin praised the 64th Motorized Infantry Brigade for “mass heroism and valor, tenacity and courage” in the “defense of the motherland.”
He officially bestowed the unit with the honorary title “Guards,” a prized designation for distinguished units, the decree shows.
The same unit had previously been IDed by Ukrainian officials as responsible for the massacre of civilians that President Volodymyr Zelensky decried as “genocide,” Ukraine’s national news service, Ukrinform, noted.
Activists said the death squad was led by Lt. Col. Azatbek Omurbekov, a decorated leader who was blessed by an Orthodox priest ahead of the war – and was widely dubbed the “Butcher of Bucha.”
By Tuesday, more than 1,200 bodies have been found in streets and mass graves around the wider Kyiv region, the Kyiv Independent said. There have also been numerous reports of sex attacks on girls as young as 13 during the troops’ occupation in the area.