After the discovery of dozens of dead corpses outside Kyiv, there has been an international outcry and threats of new penalties against Russia on Sunday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately labelled Russian forces “murderers, torturers, rapists and thieves.”
It has been more than a month since Russia invaded eastern Ukraine, and local officials say they have been pushed into digging community graves for the dead piling up on the streets, some of whom were found with their hands tied behind their back.
Condemnation was immediate despite Russia’s denial of guilt; NATO and the UN expressed shock at allegations of civilian deaths in Bucha and elsewhere despite Russian denials.
Throughout the day, Zelensky warned that “concentrated evil has arrived in our nation.”
In Ukrainian, he called Russian soldiers “murderers, torturers, rapists, looters, who call themselves the army and who deserve only death after what they did.”.
“I want every mother of every Russian soldier to witness the remains of the dead people in Bucha, in Irpin, in Hostomel,” he said in Russian.
Russian authorities should be able to monitor how their directives are being carried out, says Putin.
A new investigation team, led by Zelensky, will focus on deaths in places where Russian soldiers have left the city, as Moscow shifts its attention back to the country’s south-eastern region.
According to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, at least 410 dead civilians have been discovered so far.
According to Bucha’s mayor, 280 dead were buried in mass graves because cemeteries were too close to the shooting range.
Maxar, a company that specialises in satellite imaging, produced images purporting to depict a mass burial on the grounds of a local church.
In Bucha, Russian forces first refused to let locals bury their dead, according to municipal worker Serhii Kaplychnyi.
Even while the UN said it can not rule out the possibility that some of the deceased were combatants or had died naturally, it expressed “grave concern” over the photos pouring from the region.
Both Dmytro Kuleba and Sergiy Nikiforov, the spokesman for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, described the Bucha massacre as a “planned slaughter” and likened it to a war crime.
In response, Russia’s defence ministry claimed that “not a single local citizen” had been harmed in Bucha.
According to the report, Kyiv had bombed the city’s southern districts and had fabricated corpse photographs for use by Western media in “another production.”
A UN Security Council meeting would be held on Monday “in light of the terrible provocation of Ukrainian extremists in Bucha,” Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN stated.
As many as 20 bodies were found sprawled across one street by AFP reporters in the town, and the photographs of the killings have sparked worldwide outrage and calls for further sanctions against Russia.
Blinken described the deaths as a “blow to the stomach,” while NATO commander Jens Stoltenberg described the violence as “horrific” and “totally reprehensible,” which had not been witnessed in Europe for decades.
New penalties will be decided “in the next days,” according to German chancellor Olaf Scholz.