Lviv, April 4 Women across Ukraine are grappling with the threat of rape as a weapon of war with growing evidence of sexual violence emerging from areas retaken from retreating Russian forces, The Guardian reported.

The world was horrified on Sunday by a picture taken by Mikhail Palinchak on a highway 20 km outside Kiev, in which the bodies of one man and three women were piled under a blanket. The women were naked and their bodies had been partially burnt, the photographer said.

The harrowing image adds to a mounting body of evidence that summary executions, rape and torture have been used against civilians in areas under Russian control since the Kremlin launched the invasion of its neighbour on February 24, The Guardian reported.

Particularly difficult for many to comprehend is the scale of sexual violence. As Russian troops have withdrawn from towns and suburbs around the capital in order to refocus the war effort on Ukraine’s east, women and girls have come forward to tell the police, media and human rights organisations of the atrocities they have suffered at the hands of Russian soldiers.

Gang-rapes, assaults taking place at gunpoint, and rapes committed in front of children are among the grim testimonies collected by the investigators, the report said.

And it is not only the Russian soldiers Ukrainian women may have to protect themselves from. In Vinnytsia, a town in the west of the country, a teacher reported to police that a member of the territorial defence services dragged her into the school library and tried to rape her. The man was arrested.

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