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On February 27, the fourth day of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops entered the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of kyiv. They were not greeted with flowers, as they would have been led to believe. Instead, they encountered fierce resistance. A column of armored vehicles was ambushed and the Russian soldiers found themselves in a brutal firefight. Eventually, after suffering heavy losses in troops and equipment, Russian forces took control of the city and began an occupation that would last for over a month.

Only now are we discovering what happened during those weeks of occupation: hundreds of civilians in the city were tortured, raped and murdered by Russian soldiers. After their quick withdrawal last weekend, the Guardians Daniel Boffey visited the city, where, he said Michael Safi, the fighting was so recent that the bloodstains were still wet. On Vokzal’na Street, people surprisingly still lived in houses that were practically razed to the ground. From there, he was able to piece together a narrative of “pure hell”, as some have described it.

Bucha’s images and stories have sparked worldwide revulsion. The NATO alliance presented new offers of military equipment and tougher sanctions for Russia. But despite world leaders’ condemnation of the apparent war crimes, the diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour explains why the UN’s hands are tied: Russia has a veto over any official investigation, so there is little chance of immediate justice for the civilians killed.

The week the world woke up to Russian war crimes in Ukraine – podcast |  News

Photography: Rodrigo Abd/AP

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