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A boy watched Russians kill his parents. Might it be considered a war crime?

SOFIIVKA, Ukraine After Russian soldiers killed his parents before him immediately after the invasion began, 10-year-old Andriy Bliznyuk hasnt had the opportunity to sleep alone.

He could be a traumatized child, his maternal grandfather, Oleksandr Chernoval, said.

On March 1, Andriy, his mother, Oksana, father, Mykhailo Bliznyuk, and uncle Serhiy Salivon were attempting to escape the advance of the invading troops close to the capital, Kyiv, once the boy says they encountered a column of Russian tanks.

The vehicle belonging to the Bliznyuk family, which was crushed by a Russian tank, killing both parents.
The automobile from the Bliznyuk family, that was crushed by way of a Russian tank, killing both parents.

In accordance with Andriy, among the tanks rumbled over and crushed their beige Audi with them all inside. In a bizarre act of mercy, Russian soldiers plucked him from the automobile after he waved his hand from the wrecked vehicle, he says. Then, he says, they opened machine-gun fire on the automobile.

Andriy says he remembers lying privately of the street because the car burst into flames. His mother, father and uncle were dead. A stranger found him and took him to a hospital, he says.

The deaths of Andriys parents and uncle are simply among a lot more than 30,000 alleged Russian war crimes being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutors. Kyiv has accused Russia of comitting acts that violate the laws of war because the start of the Feb. 24 invasion, including deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. Moscow has denied targeting civilians, despite what Ukraine says is proof entire towns being destroyed by the Russian army.

Ukraine: The Seek out Justice airs Friday, Sept. 16th at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

Since that moment half a year ago, Andriy has spent many nights close to his grandfather.

He could be afraid of anything inside your home doors, curtains, shutters being open, his grandmother Kateryna Chernoval says, her eyes wet with tears.

He could be too scared to visit the bathroom . by himself, she added, and needs you to definitely stand close to him.

Apart from Andriy, there have been no eyewitnesses to his familys deaths. The wreckage has since been removed and family could actually bury themselves remains.

Ukrainian authorities said they’re investigating the incident as a potential war crime.

Before and after

Wearing a green Gap sweatshirt with long sleeves on a sunny summer day, Andriy helps his grandmother pick strawberries and spring onions in Sofiivka, a village some 50 miles east of Kyiv.

Prior to the war, he lived along with his mom and dad in the Kyiv suburb of Brovary. He loved school, especially math, gym and computer science classes, he says with a smile. The fourth grader kept pet turtles and a big assortment of toy cars, and continued fishing trips along with his dad.

Andriy Bliznyuk with his parents Mikhailo and Oksana.
Andriy Bliznyuk along with his parents Mikhailo and Oksana. Thanks to the Bliznuik family

Andriys eyes light as he remembers how his mother would take him to school. She eventually let him cross the road by himself.

He recalls that she grew flowers and his dad repaired cars as a spare time activity.

He picks at his fingers and his smile turns nervous when asked about this fateful morning on March 1. He grows quiet and avoids questions about his new lease of life along with his older sister, Tetyana Muravska, 26, who’s now his legal guardian.

As the adults surrounding him openly shed tears while discussing how his parents died, Andriy never cries.

Everything is okay, he says when asked how he could be doing.

Muravska, who includes a 6-year-old daughter, doesnt think her brother has fully grasped what has happened, though he could be aware his parents aren’t returning.

He doesnt talk much about any of it or his feelings, she said.

Throughout the day, he could be out as an ordinary child, Muravska says. He runs, plays soccer and foretells his friends.

Things change in the evenings, she says.

He doesnt stay alone and he could be very afraid of sounds. And psychologically, he is able to be closed off. He’ll say a couple of phrases.

Their parents home in Brovary is filled up with photos of a smiling family ringing in the brand new year, celebrating a birthday or going on road trips to the seaside.

She too struggles to trust what has befallen them.

My brain makes me believe they will have just switched off their phones and gone somewhere, Muravska says.

Russias defense and foreign ministries didn’t react to requests for touch upon what happened to Andriys family and accusations of war crimes in Ukraine. Moscow has previously categorically rejected any allegations of war crimes, or that its forces have targeted civilians.

While Ukraine has vowed to create all those in charge of committing war crimes to justice, just a small couple of Russian soldiers have already been taken to trial up to now.

International human rights organizations have documented what they state are a large number of cases of murder, rape and torture of Ukrainian civilians as a result of Russian soldiers since President Vladimir Putin started the invasion. The US in addition has blamed Moscow for indiscriminately shelling populated areas and killing civilians.

Andriy Bliznyuk with his grandparents Katerina and Oleksandr Chernoval.
Andriy Bliznyuk along with his grandparents Katerina and Oleksandr Chernoval.Thanks to the Bliznyuk family

Images of bodies in civilian clothes and reports of atrocities in the areas outside Kyiv in the first weeks of the war sparked demands justice from america and its own allies.

Muravska says she hopes someone are certain to get to underneath of what happened to her parents.

But even though there’s justice, she says, she wont feel whole again.

No-one gives me my parents back, she says.

Her grandparents have promised to greatly help her look after Andriy so long as they can, however they are worried about his recurrent fears and mental trauma.

He’ll never progress, Kateryna says of her grandson.

But Oleksandr is more optimistic. Andriy is slowly showing signs to getting back again to normal, he says, even riding his bike along with his friends in the village.

Hell never be much better than he was before, but nonetheless, he said. We are by his side.

Charlotte Gardiner reported from Sofiivka and Yuliya Talmazan from London.

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