Ukrainian authorities allege that retreating Russian troops are looting the homes of citizens around Kyiv, taking with them electronics, jewelry, cars, home appliances, children’s toys and other items of value.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the Russians have opened a market for the stolen items across the border in Naroulia, Belarus.
“Not every military trophy reaches Russia,” the ministry said on Twitter alongside a photo of a bombed-out truck packed with charred items. “Hundreds of cars with loot from the suburbs of Kyiv ― from children’s toys, carpets to, as in this photo, washing machines, were grabbed in the last few days by retreating Russian troops.”
“Electronics, clothes, shoes, cosmetics. This is not an army. This is a disgrace,” a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, said on Twitter.
“We will never forget and we will never forgive,” Nikolenko added.
The suburbs outside Kyiv have seen some of the most important battles in Russia’s war against Ukraine so far, as Russian forces tried and failed to encircle the capital city.
Many residents were forced to flee ― some under gunfire ― and join the ranks of the millions of people displaced by the five-week-old conflict.
Although Russian forces have been filing out of regions in northern Ukraine, including the Kyiv area, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says they are booby-trapping the territory they leave in their wake with mines.
“They are mining homes, mining equipment, even the bodies of people who were killed,” Zelenskyy said in one of his nightly addresses, CBS News reported. “There are a lot of trip wires, a lot of other dangers.”
There is some evidence of looting where other Russian battalions are retreating: the Ukrainian defense ministry said on Facebook that a Russian “column of trucks with various properties,” including “industrial goods and household things,” was also spotted en route from the Ukrainian city of Buryn, which lies east of Kyiv, towards the Russian border, according to a translation from Business Insider.
Russian forces are abandoning certain areas in what may be an effort to regroup in other strategic regions to the east and south.