Russian Soldier And Wife Discussing Rape Of Ukrainian Women Identified By RFE/RL

An RFE/RL investigation has identified Roman Bykovsky and his wife, Olga, as the Russian soldier and his spouse who discussed raping Ukrainian women in a phone call.

The identities of a Russian soldier and his wife who discussed the rape of Ukrainian women in a phone call have been revealed following an investigation by RFE/RL.

The investigation found that Roman Bykovsky, 27, and his wife, Olga Bykovskaya, whose maiden name is Pinyasovaya, were the couple behind the shocking call that has fed fears of mass rape of Ukrainian women by Russian soldiers.

During the call, which Ukrainian law enforcement bodies in the Kherson region in the country’s south said they intercepted before publishing it earlier this month, a woman can be heard giving permission to a man to rape Ukrainian women.

“Yes, I allow it. Just wear protection,” the woman says between laughs.

Reporters from RFE/RL's Russian Service and Schemes, a investigative project run by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, received the telephone numbers of the participants in the call from sources in Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies and used the numbers to find the social media accounts of Bykovsky and his wife.

Born and raised in Oryol, Russia, a town about 350 kilometers southwest of Moscow, the Bykovskys moved to Crimea a few years after Russia seized the peninsula from Ukraine.

Social media posts by Bykovsky’s mother, Irina Bykovskaya, show that he is a member of Russia’s armed forces.

When contacted by RFE/RL, Bykovsky confirmed his identity and said he was in Sevastopol, the Crimean port where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. However, he denied he was the man on the call.

Olga Bykovskaya confirmed her husband was in Sevastopol, saying he was wounded and being treated in a hospital when RFE/RL contacted her.

Neither would answer any more questions.

Sociali media posts indicate that Roman Bykovsky has served in Russia's armed forces.

Despite Bykovsky's denial, his voice and that of his wife match those heard on the call intercepted by Ukrainian law enforcement, RFE/RL and Schemes reported.

No one has accused Bykovsky of rape and no charges have been filed against the couple.

While they may have been joking during their call, the publication came amid a growing number of allegations by Ukrainian women that they had been raped by the invading Russian soldiers.

In a report published on April 3, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented the first reported rape allegations. Many more followed after Russian forces withdrew from towns around Kyiv.

SEE ALSO: 'Part Of Russia's Arsenal': Allegations Of Rape By Russian Forces In Ukraine Are Increasing

On the same day as the HRW report, U.K. Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons called rape an element of Russia's unprovoked war campaign.

"Though we don't yet know the full extent of its use in Ukraine, it's already clear it was part of Russia's arsenal," Simmons wrote. "Women raped in front of their kids, girls in front of their families, as a deliberate act of subjugation."

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Ukrainian Woman Tells Of Rape By Russian Soldiers

Rape is a war crime and soldiers accused of such acts could face an international court if captured. Their commanders are also criminally liable if they knew acts of rape were happening and did nothing to stop them.

Russia has not responded to Ukrainian allegations about rape specifically. But Russian officials have denied that Russian forces in Ukraine have targeted civilians or committed war crimes, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.