World (Times Of Ocean)- Russia was accused of war crimes after the Russian pullout from outskirts of Kiev led to the discovery of corpses that appeared to be civilians, some of whom had been killed intentionally at close range.
Seeing battered bodies out in the open or in graves has led to calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, such as cutting off Russian fuel imports. Germany expelled 40 Russian diplomats, and Lithuania expelled its Russian ambassador.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy left Kyiv for his first reported trip since the war started nearly six weeks ago in order to take a look at what he called “genocide” and “war crimes” taking place in Bucha, the site of some of the horrors.
“Dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured,” Zelenskyy said, urging Russia to begin negotiating an end to the war as soon as possible.
Several European leaders and the UN human rights chief have condemned the bloodshed, calling it genocide in some cases, and US President Joe Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.
The events in Bucha are outrageous, said Biden, who also promised to ratchet up sanctions against Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the scenes outside Kyiv as a “stage-managed anti-Russian provocation.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted signs of video forgery in the images. Russia similarly rejected previous allegations of atrocities by Ukraine as fabrications.
According to Ukrainian officials, 410 bodies of civilians were found in towns around Kyiv that were retaken by Ukrainian forces in recent days.
A group of nine civilians who appeared to have been shot at close range were among the 21 bodies found by Associated Press journalists in Bucha, northwest of the capital. Their hands were tied behind their backs. One of the dead spilled a bag of groceries.
There is no indication yet of the full extent of the bloodshed in the Kyiv area, but from all accounts the horrors in the shattered southern port city of Mariupol are likely to be even worse.
“This is a war of murders, a lot of blood. A lot of civilians are dying,” said Natalia Svitlova, a refugee from Dnipro in eastern Ukraine who fled to Poland. “I don’t understand why this is possible in the 21st century and why no one can stop it.”