Two Ukrainian women have said they were raped by Russian soldiers amid growing warnings that sexual violence is being used as a "strategy" in the Ukraine war.
According to CNN, the women were living in the Brovary District, an eastern suburb of the capital Kyiv, when Vladimir Putin's forces took over the village on 9 March.
One of the women, given the pseudonym of Nika by CNN, said soldiers entered and demanded she and her husband hand over their phones, before one of them fired a shot and hit their home as they left.
But she said two of the younger ones returned at night, dragging her to the home of another woman, "Dasha", who was with her mother, husband and daughter when the knocking began.
Watch: Fighting rages in Ukraine's east as US warns of long war
When Dasha's husband went outside to speak to them, they shot him dead and pushed his body out of sight, Nika said.
Dasha and Nika were then forced to an abandoned house, where the two women overheard the soldiers using their names — Danya and Oleg.
Danya told Nika he was 19 years old, she said, before raping her in the house.
Nika told CNN: "I told him I am 41, my younger son is the same age as you. I asked him if he had a girlfriend. He said, 'Yes. She is 17. But I didn't have sex with her.'"
Nika asked, "Why are you doing this to me? He answered that he hadn't seen a woman in two weeks."
Dasha and Nika both survived, but had to run through an active war zone to return to their families.
When asked what she wanted to happen to those who raped her, Nika said: "I want them (the soldiers) to be punished by a judge. They must decide what to do with them: shoot them, kill them, tear them apart. The b***ards."
There has been growing evidence that Russian troops have been using sexual violence as a tool in their arsenal as the invasion of Ukraine continues.
Ukrainian politicians have reported the systematic sexual abuse of women by Russian forces since the invasion began on 24 February.
Rape was officially recognised as a war crime in 2008, with Dymtro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, vowing to prosecute troops who had committed such actions.
A report by the Institute for War & Peace Reporting on Monday laid out the scale of the alleged war crimes.
"As troops withdrew from towns and suburbs around the capital to regroup and refocus the offensive on Ukraine’s east, women and girls have shared grim testimonies of gang rape, sexual violence at gunpoint and assaults committed in front of relatives, including children," the report says. "There have also been reports that men and boys have been subjected to sexual violence.
"Forensic scientists examining hundreds of bodies Russian troops left behind in towns like Bucha and Irpin said that many women had been raped."
Larysa Denisenko, a lawyer and co-founder of the Ukrainian Women Lawyer Association, told IWPR: “Ukraine has agreed to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for crimes committed during the Russian aggression, and various forms of sexual violence is one of them."
In the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, which was temporarily occupied by Russian forces, an investigation is being carried out in which 228 witnesses have already been spoken to.
Asked whether rape was a deliberate Russian tactic, Venediktova replied "I am sure, actually, that it was strategy."
In a speech earlier this month, the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict Pramila Patten warned that cases already under investigation were just “the tip of the iceberg."
She added that victims are being encouraged to report the crimes so justice can be sought and there were also “not yet verified [reports]… of sexual violence against men and boys”.