Russia faces global outrage over bodies found on Ukrainian streets

BUCHA, Ukraine – Moscow on Monday faced charges of global insurgency and war crimes when streets were littered with bodies of civilians after the Russian withdrawal from the outskirts of Kiev, some of whom were apparently killed nearby.

The gruesome image of wounded corpses left in the open or hastily buried calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, such as a ban on fuel imports from Russia. Germany has responded by expelling 40 Russian diplomats, and US President Joe Biden has said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.

“This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Buchate is outrageous,” Biden said, referring to the northwestern city of the capital, which was a scene of some horror.

Since the war began about six weeks ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has left the capital, Kyiv, to see for himself what he called “genocide” and “war crimes.” He said the dead were “found in barrels, basements, suffocated, tortured.”

Later, in a video speech to Romania’s parliament, Zelensky said he feared there would be more atrocities.

“The military has tortured people, and we have every reason to believe that many more have been killed,” he said. “Much more than we know now.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the scenes outside Kiev “stage-directed anti-Russian provocations.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the images contained “signs of video forgery and various fakes”.

Russia has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Russia’s intelligence have been made more than once.

Ukrainian officials say the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in cities near Kiev, which have been recaptured by Russian forces in recent days.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office described a room discovered in Bucha as a “torture chamber”. A handcuffed child was found in the basement of a sanatorium where five civilians were tortured and killed, a statement said.

Black plastic wrapped corpses were also found at one end of a mass grave in Bucha Church. Many of the dead were shot in cars or killed in explosions trying to flee the city, and the morgue was full and it was impossible to reach the cemetery, the only place to keep the dead, Father Andrei Galvin said.

Tania Nedashkivska says she buried her husband in a garden outside their apartment building when she was captured by Russian soldiers and found dead along with two others on a staircase.

“Please, I beg you, do something!” He said. “I am talking about a Ukrainian woman, a Ukrainian woman, a mother of two and a grandson. For all wives and mothers, make peace on earth so that no one will ever mourn again. “

In other developments, more than 1,500 civilians were evacuated from the besieged and devastated port city of Mariupol on Monday, reducing the number of private vehicles available for exit, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said.

But during the fighting, a convoy of buses with the Red Cross that had failed for several days to deliver supplies and evacuate residents could not re-enter the city, Vereshchuk said.

European leaders and UN human rights chiefs joined Ukrainians in condemning the bloodshed that erupted after Russian troops withdrew from the capital.

At the same time, many warned that the full extent of the horror had not yet emerged.

“I can say without exaggeration but with great sadness that the situation in Mariupol is much worse than what we have seen in other cities, towns and villages near Bucha and Kiev,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba.

Western and Ukrainian leaders have previously accused Russia of war crimes, and prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have already launched an investigation. But the latest report has raised a storm of condemnation.

German Foreign Minister Analena Bayerbock said Bukhar’s pictures “showed the incredible brutality of the Russian leadership and those who follow its propaganda.” And French President Emmanuel Macron says Bouche has “clear evidence of war crimes” that calls for a new penal code.

“I am in favor of a new round of sanctions, especially on coal and petrol. We need to act, “he told France-Inter Radio.

Although united in anger, European allies were divided over how to respond. While Poland has called on Europe to quickly rid itself of Russian power, Germany has said it will stick to its policy of phasing out coal and oil imports for several months.

The United States and its allies have sought to punish Russia for the attack by imposing massive sanctions, but fear further damage to the world economy, which is still recovering from the epidemic. Europe is in a special dilemma, as it gets 40% of its gas and 25% of its oil from Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Mateus Morawicki has described Russia under Putin as an “omnipotent-fascist state” and called for strong action “that would ultimately dismantle Putin’s war machine.” “Will you negotiate with Hitler, with Stalin, with Pol Pot?” Morawiki asked Macron.

Russia has withdrawn most of its forces from the capital in recent days, following a failed attempt to quickly capture Kyiv.

It has instead poured troops and mercenaries into the east of the country to gain control of the Donbass, the larger Russian-speaking industrial zone that includes Mariupol, which has seen the heaviest fighting and worst suffering in the war.

Nearly two-thirds of Russian troops have moved around Kiev and are on their way to or from Belarus, possibly getting more supplies and reinforcements, said a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an intelligence assessment.

The official said Russian forces appeared to be relocating artillery and troops to try to seize the city of Izumi, the official said.

Dmitry Zyivistsky, the governor of Ukraine’s northern Sumi region, said Russian troops who had occupied the region on their way to Kiev had also returned to Russia, while Ukrainian forces had captured small groups behind.

Putin’s February 24 attack killed thousands and forced more than 4 million Ukrainians to flee their country.

“It simply came to our notice then. Many civilians are dying, “said Natalia Svitlova, a refugee who fled to Poland from Dnipropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine. “I don’t understand why this is possible in the twenty-first century and why no one can stop it.”

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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