ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo has heard of fresh horrors allegedly committed by Russian troops against Ukrainian civilians
Russian troops who took over a suburb of Kyiv are alleged to have raped and held hostage a 15-year-old girl whose mother died while she was being detained against her will, ITV News has been told.
The teenager is claimed to have been held by Russian troops for 10 days close to Irpin, the heavily contested town which sits roughly 12 miles from the Ukrainian capital.
ITV News tracked down Konstantin Gudauskas, the volunteer who rescued the girl and relayed the horrifying details - which are being passed onto war crimes investigators - to Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo.
He described his surprise at seeing the teenager when he was unloading food and medicine from the back seat of his car in an area of Vorzel, a town near the capital.
"I didn't notice how a little girl sneaked into the car through an open door," Mr Gudauskas told ITV News.
"When she saw my eyes, she just said 'save me please'".
The volunteer said he could not sleep for 48 hours after hearing how the teenager's mother was allegedly left to bleed to death over two days in a basement in front of her eyes.
She said that she was raped by Russian soldiers, who allegedly filmed the act on a mobile phone.
"I will never forget this story," Mr Gudauskas said.
He went on to reveal how Russian soldiers have ransacked private houses, stolen left-behind cars and have thrown people out of homes they want to occupy.
"They can enter any house and take whatever they like. If people try to stop them, they shoot people," he said.
Talking to her relatives on the phone, one survivor could be heard describing being forced to hide in her basement while Russian troops took over her home and slept in her bed.
But when two of her elderly neighbours dared to step outside, they were allegedly killed.
Following the horrific assaults, a sense of wary relief was felt when Irpin's mayor said Ukraine was back in full control of the town following weeks of heavy fighting and sustained shelling around the area.
Many of Irpin's buildings have been reduced to rubble, with key infrastructure left in ruins after relentless attacks, prompting much of the pre-war population of 60,000 to flee.
Exclusive footage captured at the start of March shows Russian troops just miles from Kyiv's centre
Rohit Kachroo reported from the town earlier this month when Russian vehicles with a distinctive ‘V’ sign painted on their sides could be seen moving slowly through a residential area.
At one point, as many as 16 soldiers could be seen gathered around three military vehicles.
In a sign of the unfolding humanitarian crisis, images showed residents climbing underneath a destroyed bridge and across a river to outpace the Russian shells and mortar fire.
But in a desperate attempt to escape the horror, reports surfaced of innocent civilians being gunned down by invading forces as they fled along an evacuation corridor, despite assurances of safety.
As one of the towns on Russia's path towards Kyiv, the capture of Irpin, which is also close to the key battleground site at Hostomel airfield, was seen as strategically significant to Moscow's war aims.
So its recapture was used by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to rally the morale of his country as signs of Russia starting to scale back its invasion goals began to emerge.
“We still have to fight, we have to endure,” Mr Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation on Monday. “We can’t express our emotions now. We can’t raise expectations, simply so that we don’t burn out.”
In a sign of progress in peace talks, Russia claimed on Tuesday that it will "fundamentally cut back" operations outside Kyiv to “increase mutual trust”. Russia’s deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin said Russian forces would reduce “military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv" in what appears to be the first major concession the Russians made since the beginning of their invasion more than a month ago.
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