- Germany has expelled 40 Russian diplomats over the apparent killing of civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.
- The Red Cross says it cannot reach the besieged city of Mariupol again due to security conditions.
- Ukrainian Zelensky met with residents of Bucha, denounced the killings as “genocide”, “war crimes”.
- Russia’s foreign minister has denied allegations of atrocities in Bucha.
- The Canadian foreign minister said the killings in the Ukrainian city of Bucha were “clearly war crimes”.
Moscow has faced a new wave of disgust and war crimes allegations Monday after Russia’s withdrawal from the outskirts of Kyiv uncovered streets littered with corpses of what appear to be civilians, some of whom appear to have been killed deliberately by relatives. distance.
Images of battered bodies in the open or in hastily excavated graves have also led to calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, including a halt to fuel imports from Russia. Germany has responded by expelling 40 Russian diplomats, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie has promised that “these terrorist acts will not go unpunished”, and US President Joe Biden has said Russian leader Vladimir Putin must be tried for war crimes. .
“This man is brutal and what is happening in Bucha is scandalous,” Biden said, referring to the city northwest of the capital, which was the scene of some of the horrors.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky left the capital Kyiv for his first reported trip since the start of the war nearly six weeks ago to see in person what he called “genocide” and “war crimes” in Bucha. He said the dead were “found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured”.
Later, in a video address to the Romanian parliament, Zelenski said he feared there were places where even worse atrocities had taken place.
“Wars have tortured people and we have every reason to believe that many more have been killed,” he said. “Much more than we know now.”
WATCH The bodies can be seen on the streets of the suburbs of Kyiv:
Horrifying scenes appear near Kyiv as Russian troops retreat
WARNING: This video contains graphics. The devastation of the war is nowhere more obvious than in Bucha, one of Kyiv’s northern suburbs, where the streets are lined with bodies of civilians and burnt-out war machines. 5:05
The bodies, wrapped in black plastic, were piled up at one end of a mass grave in the courtyard of a Bucha church. Many of the victims were shot in cars or killed in explosions while trying to escape from the city northwest of Kyiv, and with a full morgue and inability to reach the cemetery, it is the only place to store the dead, said Father Andriy Galavin.
Tanya Nedashkovska said she buried her husband in a garden in front of their apartment building after he was detained by Russian soldiers and found dead with two others on a staircase.
“Please, please, do something!” she said. “I speak, Ukrainian, Ukrainian, mother of two children and one grandchild. For all wives and mothers, make peace on Earth so that no one will ever grieve again.”
Russia says photos were “forged on stage”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied the allegations, describing scenes outside Kyiv as a “directed anti-Russian provocation”. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied allegations of atrocities as false by Ukraine.
He said the mayor of Bucha did not mention the atrocities a day after Russian troops left last week, but two days later dozens of bodies were scattered in the streets.
In Bucha, northwest of the capital, Associated Press reporters saw 21 bodies, including a group of nine in civilian clothes, who appeared to have been shot at close range. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs. A bag of groceries was spilled by one of the victims.
In Motizhyn, west of Kyiv, AP journalists saw the bodies of four people who appeared to have been shot at close range and thrown into a pit. Residents said the mayor, her son and her husband – who were blindfolded – were among them.
A woman cries as she waits with others for food distribution on Sunday in the village of Motizhyn, Ukraine, which until recently was under Russian military control. (Vadim Girda / Associated Press)
The full extent of the bloodshed in the Kyiv region has not yet been revealed, but all the horrors in the shattered southern port city of Mariupol are likely to be even worse.
“This is a war of assassinations, a lot of blood. Many civilians are dying,” said Natalia Svitlova, a Dnieper refugee in eastern Ukraine who fled to Poland. “I don’t understand why this is possible in the 21st century and why no one can stop it.”
Moscow has continued to push its offensive in eastern Ukraine, where little news has reached the outside world since the start of the war on February 24. Russia is withdrawing from the capital, saying its main focus is gaining control of Donbass, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial region in the eastern part of the country that includes Mariupol.
A man’s body lay on a black path in Bucha on Monday. Ukrainian authorities say the bodies of 410 civilians have been found in cities around Kyiv that have been seized by Russian forces in recent days. (Vadim Girda / Associated Press) Bodies, one with hands tied in white cloth, lie on a street in Bucha on Sunday. (Mikhail Palinchak / Reuters)
About two-thirds of Russian troops around Kyiv have already left and are either in Belarus or on their way there, likely to receive more supplies and reinforcements, said a senior US defense official, who wished to remain anonymous to discuss an assessment of intelligence.
Russian forces also appear to be moving artillery and troops to try to capture the town of Izyum, a key road to Donbass, the official said.
Calls for a boycott of Russian energy
The European allies, though united in outrage at the consequences outside Kyiv, seemed divided over how to react.
Poland, which is on the border with Ukraine and has accepted a large number of refugees, angrily pointed out France and Germany that they are not taking tougher action and called on Europe to quickly give up Russian energy. But Germany has said it will pursue a more gradual approach to phasing out coal and oil imports over the next few months.
Western and Ukrainian leaders have accused Russia of war crimes before, and the International Criminal Court prosecutor has launched an investigation into the conflict. But recent reports have heightened condemnation.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said “Russian authorities are responsible for these atrocities committed while they had effective control of the region”.
The wife of 44-year-old soldier Tereshko Vladimir, in the center, reacted during his funeral after he was killed in a fight at the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Church in Lviv, western Ukraine, on Monday. (Nariman El-Mofti / Associated Press)
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that there was “clear evidence of war crimes” in Bucha that required new measures. “I am in favor of a new round of sanctions, in particular for coal and petrol. We must act,” he told AFP.
However, the Polish prime minister, who described Russia under President Vladimir Putin as a “totalitarian-fascist state”, called for action “that will finally break Putin’s military machine”.
“President Macron, how many times have you negotiated with Putin? What did you achieve? … Would you negotiate with Hitler, with Stalin, with Pol Pot? ”Mateusz Morawiecki asked.
The United States and its allies are seeking to punish Russia for the war by imposing broad sanctions on Russia. But they may be reluctant to impose measures that cause further damage to the global economy, which is still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Europe is in particular difficulty as it receives 40% of its gas and 25% of its oil from Russia.
A man carries a girl as he arrives with other families to board a train at Kramatorsk Central Station while fleeing the eastern city of Kramatorsk, in the Donbass region, on Monday. (Fadel Senna / AFP / Getty Images)
Putin’s February 24 invasion killed thousands and forced more than four million Ukrainians to flee their country.
“The horrors we saw in Bucha are just the tip of the iceberg of all the crimes committed by the Russian army on Ukrainian territory so far,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
“And I can tell you without exaggeration, but with great sorrow, that the situation in Mariupol is much worse than what we have seen in Bucha and other cities, towns and villages near Kyiv.”
The Ukrainian government claims that 18 journalists have also been killed in the country since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement on social media on Monday that any deaths and other crimes against members of the media would be investigated.
The ministry added that 13 other journalists had been injured, eight had been abducted or taken prisoner, and three journalists were missing. It says several crimes have been committed against journalists from 11 countries, including Ukraine.
Putin said the invasion was aimed at eliminating the security threat and called on Ukraine to withdraw its candidacy to join NATO’s Western Allies military alliance. Ukraine insists it has never posed a threat, but has offered to formally declare itself neutral.
Ukraine holds Mariupol
While Western officials initially said they believed Putin’s goal was to take over Kyiv and potentially establish a Kremlin-friendly government, Russian forces have faced strong resistance outside the capital and on other fronts and are now withdrawing from some areas.
The British Ministry of Defense said on Monday that Russia continues to flood soldiers and mercenaries from the private military group Wagner in Donbass. It says Russian troops are still trying to take over the strategic port city of Mariupol, which …