The mayor of a Ukrainian town decimated by Russian forces wants Moscow held accountable for extensive alleged war crimes that killed more than 400 people — insisting “justice” must be served.
Anatolii Fedoruk is the mayor of Bucha, where 458 bodies were recovered in the aftermath of Russia’s monthlong occupation in March 2022. Now, he is calling for an international war tribunal to investigate the mass slaughter of civilians in the northwest suburb of Kyiv, where relatives have said some victims were raped, tortured and shot in the head.
One mass grave in Bucha — a town of 50,000 that Ukrainian forces reclaimed from Russian troops on April 1 — held roughly 300 bodies, including women and children. Some 419 victims had signs of torture or mass trauma, Fedoruk said.
“As of today, there is no town or city in Ukraine that has not been terrorized by the Russian aggression, the Russian occupiers,” Fedoruk, 50, told The Post Monday through a translator. “But even under constant missile shelling, we will survive and prevail and win.”
Fedoruk, who was elected in 1998, spoke to The Post during a 10-day visit to Albany, NY, and Washington, DC, where he’s meeting with lawmakers to partner on Ukraine’s massive rebuilding effort. He was set to meet with with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Monday.
The mayor also wants Russia to answer for the atrocities committed in Bucha and elsewhere throughout Ukraine as its invasion nears the one-year mark on Feb. 24.
“We all have to come together to prevail over the enemy,” Fedoruk said. “The worldwide community must hold the Russians accountable for the atrocities and the war crimes they have committed.”
Days after the invasion began last February, the International Criminal Court in The Hague launched an investigation into accusations of war crimes, but neither Russia nor the US recognizes the ICC’s jurisdiction.
“The Russian armies destroyed our city and we basically have to rebuild from the very beginning,” said Fedoruk, Bucha’s mayor since 1998. “But this is not just a war between Ukraine and Russia. This war is about how the whole civilized world will look in the future.”
An ICC spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.
President Volodymyr Zelensky characterized the carnage in Bucha as “genocide,” claiming in April that the targeting killings represented the “elimination” of the entire nation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in March that Russia had committed war crimes by intentionally killing civilians.
The residents of Bucha are now focused on rebuilding, but those efforts will require substantial international support, Fedoruk said.
“We are trying to highlight and raise awareness of what’s happening to Ukraine,” Fedoruk said, adding that Russian troops had been in Ukraine for more than eight years. “And these eight years have been an everyday fight.”
Fedoruk said he’s met with New York state Sen. Timothy Kennedy and USAID administrator Samantha Power during his visit, which wraps up on Wednesday. In addition to Hochul, he was also set to meet on Monday Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
Albany is partnering with Bucha to become its sister city, an initiative proposed by Sheehan’s office, Fedoruk said. The two cities signed a memorandum Monday to share “cultural, educational and societal” traditions, Sheehan’s chief of staff said.
“They’ll share different innovations, music and art,” Sheehan staffer David Galin told The Post. “It’s a cultural exchange, that’s the best way to put it.”
Sheehan held a press conference Monday announcing the partnership, video shows.
“We stand here in solidarity with you, the city of Bucha, and all of Ukraine and condemn the atrocities committed by Russia in its illegal, unprovoked and inhumane attack on your city and your sovereign nation,” Sheehan told reporters.
The alliance with New York’s capital city is a “first, but very important step” to accelerate the rebuilding of Ukraine, including critical infrastructure, schools and other institutions, Fedoruk said at City Hall in Albany.
Fedoruk’s trip was funded by US-based nonprofit Ukraine Friends, which has donated dozens of ambulances in the war-ravaged nation since the start of Russia’s invasion.
Bucha’s mayor insisted Ukraine will ultimately defeat Russian forces, who continue to throttle Ukrainian troops in the eastern Donbas region ahead of an expected offensive in the next few weeks.
“We, together with the civilized world, are going to prevail in this war,” Fedoruk told The Post ahead of Monday’s press conference. “Because good always prevails over evil. The light will always prevail over the darkness.”
Asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin should face war crime violations, Fedoruk replied: “Without a military tribunal, justice on the planet Earth won’t be found.”