Ukraine has accused Russian troops of killing unarmed civilians after large numbers of bodies were found in Bucha, a small town 60 kilometers northwest of Kiev, which Ukrainian forces have recaptured.
Mikhail Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, posted a picture on Twitter late Saturday night showing multiple bodies on the streets of Bukhara. Some of the victims were found with their hands tied behind their backs.
“The bodies of people with their hands tied, who were shot dead [Russian] The soldiers are lying on the street, “said Podoliak. “These people were not in the military. They had no weapons. They made no threats. How many more such incidents are taking place in the occupied territories at the moment? ”
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says the UK is gathering evidence of war crimes and adds that she is “terrified of atrocities in Bucha and other cities in Ukraine”.
“Reports of Russian forces targeting innocent civilians are disgusting,” Truss wrote on Twitter. “The UK is working with others to gather evidence and support the International Criminal Court’s war crimes investigation. Those responsible will be held accountable. ”
Correspondents from the Associated Press in Bucha have seen the use of cables to pull the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers off the streets in the city. The AP quoted local residents as saying the dead were civilians who had been killed by Russian troops without provocation. There was no immediate reaction from the Kremlin or the Russian Defense Ministry.
Reporters from the city’s agency France-Presse said they saw at least 20 bodies on a street.
Buchara Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told AFP that 280 bodies had already been buried in the city’s mass grave.
The reports came as Ukrainian forces claimed they had regained control of the entire Kyiv region, including Bucha and other nearby towns and cities. The country’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Malia, said late Saturday that Ukraine’s armed forces had regained control of the province from Russian forces.
“Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel and the whole of Kyiv region have been liberated from the invaders,” he said in a Facebook post, referring to the suburbs north of the capital.
Earlier on Saturday, Carla del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor at the UN war crimes tribunal, called on the Swiss media to issue an international arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian president was a “war criminal.”
“I hope to never see a mass grave again,” he told Blick. “These dead people have loved ones who do not know what happened to them. That is unacceptable. “
“Every serious media outlet in the West needs to be asked tomorrow morning what Scholes, Macron, Urban and Biden et al. We have to talk about the Bucha genocide, “said former Estonian President Thomas Hendrik Ilves on Twitter on Saturday night. “And that’s what they’re going to do about it.”
A State Department spokesman did not immediately return calls for comment.
Earlier on Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Zelensky. A Downing Street spokesman said Johnson said he acknowledged the “massive suffering on civilians” and the widespread challenges facing the region.
Johnson separately said on Twitter that the UK wanted to “increase military, economic and diplomatic support” for Ukraine while accelerating financial sanctions against the Russian regime.
Russia has withdrawn its troops from the vicinity of Kiev in recent days after failing to violate Ukraine’s defense.
The New York Times reported late Friday that the United States would work with its Western allies to supply Soviet-era tanks to Ukrainian forces in Donbass. A White House spokesman did not immediately return calls for comment.