War in Ukraine: What we know about Azatbek Omorbeko, suspected of being the “Butcher of Bucha”

The city of Bucha has focused the international community’s enthusiasm after the discovery of dozens of dead bodies of Ukrainians in its streets in recent days. “Genocide,” Volodymyr Zelensky puts it, while Vladimir Putin continues outright denial, provoking a “gross and cynical provocation” by the Ukrainian authorities. After the shock, Ukraine is now searching for those responsible for this massacre. The name of the day spread Thursday in the international press, the name of the Azatbec Omorpico, actually nicknamed the “Butcher of Butch”. We are evaluating.

Who is Azatbak Omorpico?

This Russian colonel, aged about forty years, is suspected of organizing looting, rape and massacres against hundreds of Ukrainian civilians last March in the town of Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv. This officer, whose face can now be found in the foreign press, commands the 64th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Russian Army. According to the newspaper, his unit, immediately located in Bucha during the massacre of civilians, will be stationed in a city in the Russian Far East, called Khabarovsk.

“He would be responsible for a brigade of between 2,000 and 3,000 men,” asserts Michel Goya, a former Navy officer and military historian. This unit is small enough that he is not unaware of the work it does, especially over an area of ​​just a few kilometers.”

It is said that Azatbek Omurbeko is used in armed combat. The presenter had previously visited Ukraine in 2014, where it was reported in Crimea and Donbass. In the same year, he would receive a medal for “exceptional services” from Dmitry Bulgakov, Russia’s deputy defense minister, according to The Independent. Another well-known element, the Russian soldier could have been blessed by the Orthodox Church in November 2021, before leading the offensive in Ukraine. Since then, photos have been circulating showing him accompanied by an Orthodox priest on social networks.

The man had missed a few words, addressing the bishop during this ceremony, according to the Times: “History shows that we fight most of our battles with our weapons. But weapons are not the most important thing. Church is a place where we can communicate and prepare for future events. With God’s blessing we hope to achieve what our forefathers achieved.” “.

How was he found?

After shocking photos showing dozens of bodies lying on the ground, many Ukrainian activists are trying to document the facts and find the traces of those responsible for this massacre. The Ukrainian group that monitors the activities of the Russian army, called “InformNapalm”, has been traced back to Azatbek Omorbeko. These activists state that they worked based on open source intelligence documents, Open Source Intelligence (Osint).

By referring to this data, the group was able to immediately identify the unit present during the occupation of the city in March: Order 51460. “By knowing the exact military unit, we can easily return to its commander,” identifies Michel Goya who adds that “other names ( Commanders, captains and lieutenants) could be traded in the coming days.” Personal information about the soldier was published online on Wednesday evening, such as his photo, as well as his postal address, email address and phone number. Rather, the activists tried to reach the director, to no avail.

What wings?

At the moment, Russia, which denies that any massacre took place, has not officially responded to the information from the “InformNapalm” group. However, questions remain about the exact responsibility of Aztbek Omorpico. Michel Goya insists that “whether he orders these massacres to be carried out publicly or lets his soldiers do so, Omorpico remains responsible by virtue of his status”. The man and his unit had officially left Bosha on March 30, to redeploy to Belarus, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Despite the identification of this soldier, it is still difficult to visualize his conviction, adds Michel Goya. Will Russian officials be convicted? We can doubt it. Unless Russia changes the regime and wants to punish the perpetrators… “Currently, an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been opened since March 2, 2022 into possible war crimes committed on the spot.

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