An elderly Ukrainian woman recounts details of her rape as Russian forces took over her village to CBS News.
Because Ukraine’s military heard reports of sexual assault at the hands of Russian forces — including an alleged account from a 16-year-old girl — they took CBS News to Vera’s village.
Vera, whose last name is being withheld for her safety, told CBS News that she was beaten and sexually assaulted while her disabled husband was in the house.
The 83-year-old told the outlet that she was grabbed by the back of the neck by one of the men.
“I started to choke, I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
She told CBS News that she told her assailant that she was old enough to be his mother.
“‘Would you let this happen to your mother?'” she asked.
“He made me shut up,” she told the outlet.
“When he finished he grabbed a bottle of vodka,” she said. “I asked if I could put my clothes back on. He barked, ‘No!'”
Vera said when he left, he fired his assault rifle in the air three times outside.
The woman told CBS she believes the assailant was from Ukraine’s far east. This region is controlled by Russian-backed separatists where there are reports of men being enlisted into the war on behalf of Russia.
According to CBS News, the allegations have not been verified, but said that Vera’s story was, “detailed, compelling and heartbreaking,” and that she shared it with the Ukrainian police, who took her sheets away for testing.
“He should have shot me. I wish he had killed me instead of what he did,” Vera said to the outlet.
“Everything hurts. I’m in a state where I’m neither dead nor alive. Before I felt joy with the spring, now I don’t feel anything. I have nothing.”