A Russian paratrooper, believed to be present at the execution of eight Ukrainians in Bucha, has been identified as Chingiz Atantayev by Independent Russian media IStories. Dubbed as 'Butcher of Bucha,' the paratrooper was 'identified' with the help of facial recognition software by the outlet.
Chilling footage released by The New York Times showed 9 Ukrainians being led by Russian paratroopers at gunpoint along a street in Bucha, in Kyiv. The captives were seen walking in a straight line, hunched over and holding the belts of those walking in front of them. Some of them also had hands over their heads. "Walk to the right, bitch," one of the soldiers is heard instructing the captives.
Atantayev Identified Using Facial Recognition Software
The outlet claimed that the videos, filmed in early March, also showed the victims being taken to a nearby building's yard. Another video shot by a neighbor shows the hostages lying in the yard. "Hostages are lying there, against the fence," the person filming one of the videos is heard saying. "One, two, three, for sure, four, five, six ..."
Another video captured by a drone on March 5 revealed dead bodies lying on the ground by the side of the same building, at 144 Yablunska Street. Two Russian soldiers were also seen standing guard besides the bodies, the outlet reported.
Using the images and videos released by the The New York Times, the Russian outlet used facial recognition software to identify one of Russian soldiers, whose picture was published.
Though it cannot be confirmed if 37-year-old paratrooper was part of the execution squad, his presence at the scene was confirmed by IStories.
Atantayev's face matched 'to a high degree of probability' the soldier seen in the newspaper's image, according to facial recognition software, IStories reported.
Wife Calls Reports Fake
Releasing the information about Atantayev, the Russian outlet claimed that he is a resident of Pskov, in northwestern Russia.
"Atantaev is a native of Magadan, but has been living in Pskov for many years. It is there that the 104th and 234th air assault regiments (military unit 32515 and military unit 74268, respectively) are deployed, which, according to The New York Times, were engaged in cleaning up Bucha," reported the Telegram post by the outlet.
It was also reported that Atantaev is part of several social media groups related to the army, weapons and martial arts. In 2017, seeking to improve his living conditions, he filed a lawsuit with the Pskov court against the Ministry of Defense "to recognize the minor daughter of his wife as a member of the family of a serviceman."
Speaking to the outlet, Atantaev's wife, Tatyana Chesnak, called the NYT article fake. "Look for yourself, the soldiers there are clean-shaven. Do you think they went there like that? Therefore, where they took these photographs is generally incomprehensible," she added.