Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday paid a visit to “show the world” the mass graves and executed civilians in the town of Bucha, as he vowed to hold Russia accountable for treating people “worse than animals.”
“We want you to show the world what happened here. What the Russian military did. What the Russian Federation did in peaceful Ukraine,” Zelensky said to reporters in the northern suburb of Kyiv, CNN reported. “It was important for you to see that these were civilians.”
“What you see around, what they did to this modern town, is a characteristic of the Russian military, who treated people worse than animals. These are war crimes, and this will be recognized by the world as genocide,” Zelensky said, according to Ukrainian outlet UNIAN.
Taras Shapravskyi, deputy mayor of Bucha, said around 50 victims of extra-judicial killings by Russian troops had been found there after Kremlin forces withdrew late last week.
Reuters journalists who visited Bucha also saw a mass grave at a local church, with hands and feet poking through the red clay heaped on top. The news agency reported finding the bodies of three men in civilian clothes, each shot in the head. One man had his hands tied behind his back, and powder burns to his face, indicating a gunshot at close range.
All three were reportedly wearing civilian clothing.
Zelensky said Monday that “dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured.”
“It’s very difficult to conduct negotiations when you see what they did here,” he added.
More horrifying scenes emerged on Monday, including vehicles flattened by the fighting and a bullet-riddled truck marked with the word, “deti,” which means children in Russian.
President Joe Biden called for additional sanctions against Russia in the wake of the discoveries, and again called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal
“What’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone sees it,” Biden said Monday.
“We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight. And we have to gather all the detail so this can be an actual — have a war crimes trial,” Biden said.
The bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general, Iryna Venediktova, said Monday.
The Kremlin continued to deny the atrocities outside Kyiv, with the Russian defense ministry saying all evidence of the killings is “faked,” according to the state-run TASS news service.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called photographs of dead and bound civilians “stage-managed anti-Russian provocation” on Monday.
With Post wires