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Bucha, a town of less than 30.000 people located on the outskirts of Kyiv, has become a symbol of Russian war atrocities. It was there, after the Russian Armed Forces withdrew from the area around Kyiv, that Ukrainians discovered hundreds of dead civilians buried in mass graves.

The Bucha massacre

Russian troops in Bucha organized a manhunt for Ukrainian civilians. They murdered everyone they could find. Local victims had their hands tied behind their backs. They were shot in the back of the head. Women and underage girls were brutally raped. Russian soldiers spoke about the Bucha murders over the radio. One of the intercepted conversations features a Russian soldier bragging to a colleague about having just shot a cyclist on the main road in Bucha. After the town was liberated, a photograph of the killed man went around the world.

When Russian soldiers withdrew from Bucha, they left behind the bodies of the killed Ukrainian civilians. Some were laying in the streets, others in cellars. It is estimated that the Russians murdered about 400 local civilians.

According to Ukrainian reports, the Russian soldiers responsible for the murders and rapes were part of the 64th Mechanized Infantry Brigade stationed in Bucha. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has explicitly referred to the Bucha massacre as genocide. He demands that international institutions bring criminals to justice. The Russians have denied that they are responsible for the murders. They claim that the bodies were dumped on the street after Russian troops withdrew from Bucha.

Bucha is already being described as the "new Srebrenica" –  a reference to the town where over 8,000 Muslims were killed during the Bosnian War in 1995.

Baking bread for Ukrainian soldiers and civilians

Jacek Polewski, a baker and owner of the "Czarny chleb" bakery in Poznań, decided to travel to Bucha.

- The Russians have left the area; it's getting safer there. Hence the idea that we will go there for a week, help as much as we can, bake bread. We estimated that we can bake about 1.5 thousand loaves and then distribute them. It’s worth supporting each other. There has never been such a communal feeling in our Polish-Ukrainian history before- explains Jacek Polewski. 

Mr. Polewski's plan is essentially to load 500 kg of rye flour into his car and drive off to Bucha. There, he wants to bake bread for local civilians and soldiers. He also wants to help rebuild the local bakery. That's why he's now collecting the necessary equipment. 

-We got in touch with several bakeries in Kyiv. I also contacted the owner of one bakery in Bucha, where the Russian troops set up their headquarters. Fortunately, the damage is rather small, only baking molds, bowls, and simple things were stolen there. We're collecting all the things they need- he says.

Mr. Polewski will stay in Kyiv first. It is impossible to enter Bucha until April 14. The town is still being demined. - I know that journalists are already getting there, so there is probably at least one road under control. But it's not yet open to everyone. So, we're going to Kyiv, where we have two fixers, we'll start operating from there and wait until it is again possible to enter Bucha.  

Mr. Polewski intends to set up a fundraiser to collect the products he will need in Ukraine. A link to the fundraiser will be shared on the Facebook profile of his bakery "Czarny chleb".

Previously, Jacek Polewski organized a fundraising event in Poznań to raise money for meals for those who need them. The meals are distributed by volunteers at the Poznań railway station.


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