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Ukrainian Zelenskyy visits site of Bucha massacre: ‘War crimes’ must be recognized by the world as ‘genocide’


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Appearing somber and at times visibly emotional, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to the town of Bucha outside the capital kyiv on Monday after disturbing footage emerged showing the bodies of civilians being tortured and killed as Russian troops were withdrawing in recent days.

“First of all, it is very important for us that the press is here and that there are journalists,” Zelenskyy told reporters in Bucha on Monday. “We want you to show the world what was happening here, what the Russian military was doing, what the Russian regime was doing.”

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova said on Sunday the bodies of 410 civilians were found in Bucha, the nearby towns of Irpin and Hostomel and smaller villages around Kyiv.

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“What was done to this modern city is a feature of the Russian military which treated humans worse than animals,” Zelenskyy told reporters, according to an English translation shared by Ukrainian state television. “These are war crimes and must be recognized by the world as genocide.”

Shortly after Zelenskyy’s visit to Bucha, President Biden called for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin and said he would seek more sanctions after reported atrocities in Ukraine. But, speaking to reporters in Washington, DC, he refrained from calling the actions genocide.

“You saw what happened in Bucha,” Biden said, describing Putin as both “brutal” and a “war criminal.” “What is happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone sees it.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s chief envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced on Monday that the United States plans to seek the suspension of Russia from its seat on the highest human rights body. UN man following more indications that Russian forces may have committed war crimes in Ukraine. This would require a decision by the UN General Assembly.

Local government officials in many areas occupied by Russian forces have been abducted and killed, Zelenksyy told reporters, saying he was fortunately accompanied by Bucha’s local government on Monday. Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told the Washington Post that around 270 civilians had been buried in mass graves in his city, while around 40 others lay dead in the streets, some with their hands tied and showing signs of death. signs of torture. Associated Press reporters said they saw the bodies of at least 21 people at various locations around Bucha, northwest of the capital.

In Motyzhyn, west of Kyiv, AP journalists also said they 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 had been tied up and blindfolded – were among them.

“The longer the Russian Federation delays reuniting the process, the worse it will be for them,” Zelenskyy said Monday. “Because every day when our troops come back and clear certain territories, you see what is happening. It’s very difficult to talk when you see what they have done here and every day you understand that there is people in barrels, in cellars, strangled and simply tortured.”

Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko tweeted that among the victims found dead in Bucha were 10-year-old girls found with vaginal and rectal tears and women with swastika-shaped burns on their bodies.

“Russian men did this,” she wrote. “And Russian mothers raised them. A nation of immoral criminals.”

According to The Kyiv Independentthe Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published a list of Russian servicemen serving in the 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade which occupied Bucha until March 31.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on Monday that the European Union would send investigators to Ukraine to help the local prosecutor general “document war crimes”. Biden noted he was pushed back last month when he portrayed Putin as a war criminal for the onslaught unfolding in Ukraine after hospitals and maternity wards were bombed.

“It’s about life and people who are being killed, tortured – all this stuff of ‘let’s wait for a trial, which will be very slow, we will continue publicly as much as we can,’ Zelenskyy said on Monday. “We will not pause to find all the criminals and from there it will fundamentally help civilization.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the scenes outside kyiv an “orchestrated anti-Russian provocation”. The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed allegations of atrocities, calling them bogus on the part of Ukraine.

Lavrov said the mayor of Bucha made no mention of atrocities a day after Russian troops left last week, but two days later dozens of bodies were photographed strewn in the streets.

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Investigations into Putin’s actions had begun before new allegations of atrocities outside kyiv.

The United States and more than 40 other countries are working together to investigate possible violations and abuses, after the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a commission of inquiry . There is another investigation by the International Criminal Court, an independent body based in the Netherlands.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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