BUKA, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russians of “gross atrocities” in Ukraine and told the United Nations
BUCHA, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russians of horrific atrocities in Ukraine and asked the UN Security Council on Tuesday to immediately bring those responsible to war crimes charges before a tribunal set up in Nuremberg. Needed. After World War II.
Over the past few days, gruesome images of deliberate killings of civilians by Russian forces in Buka and other cities before being driven back from the outskirts of Kyiv have sparked global outrage and prompted Western nations to expel scores of Moscow’s diplomats. inspired. and proposes further sanctions, including a ban on coal imports from Russia.
Zelensky, speaking via video to UN diplomats from Ukraine, said civilians were tortured, shot in the back of the head, wells thrown down, their apartments blown up with grenades And while in cars was crushed by tanks.
“They cut off the limbs, slit their throats. Women were raped and killed in front of their children.” He insisted that people’s tongues were taken out because their attackers didn’t hear what they wanted to hear from them.
Zelensky said those who carried out and ordered the killings “should be brought to justice immediately for war crimes” before a tribunal, which was used in post-war Germany.
Moscow’s UN ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia, said that while Buka was under Russian control, “not a single local person has suffered from any violent action.” Reiterating what the Kremlin has protested for days, he said the video footage of bodies on the streets was “a crude forgery” by Ukrainians.
“You only saw what they showed you,” he said. “The only ones who will fall for it are the Western Dillents.”
As Zelensky spoke to diplomats, survivors of the month-long Russian occupation followed investigators to the bodies of the townspeople after they were allegedly shot by soldiers. Others simply surveyed the destruction.
In Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv, Dmitry Yevtushkov, 25, searched the rubble of apartment buildings and found only a photo album left from his family home. In the besieged southern town of Mykolaiv, a passerby pauses briefly to look at the bright flowers of a broken flower stand scattered among spots of blood, the legacy of a Russian shell that killed nine people. The spectator sketched the sign of the cross in the air and moved on.
Associated Press reporters in Buka counted dozens of corpses in civilian clothing and interviewed people in Ukraine who reported witnessing the atrocities. In addition, high-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies showed that many bodies had been lying in the open for weeks while the Russian military was in the city.
As Associated Press reporters observed, the dead in Bucha included a pile of six charred bodies. It was not clear who they were or the circumstances under which they died. One of the bodies was probably that of a child, said Andrey Nebyotov, the police chief in the Kyiv region. One had visible bullet marks in the head.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague launched an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine a month ago.
Zelensky insisted that Buka was only one place and there were more with similar horrors – a warning echoed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Meanwhile, Stoltenberg warned that upon retreating from the capital, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces are regrouping their forces to deploy them to eastern and southern Ukraine for a “critical phase of the war”. Donbass, formerly a largely Russian-speaking industrial region including the scattered port city of Mariupol.
“Moscow is not giving up on its ambitions in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
While both Ukrainian and Russian representatives sent optimistic signals after their latest round of talks a week ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not accept a Ukrainian demand that a potential peace deal include an immediate withdrawal of troops. , which is followed by a Ukrainian referendum. The agreement.
In his televised remarks on Tuesday, Lavrov said a new deal would have to be negotiated if the vote fails, and “we don’t want to play such cat and mouse.”
Ukrainian officials said the bodies of at least 410 civilians who had been withdrawn from Russian forces were found in cities around Kyiv and a “torture room” had been discovered in Buka.
Zelensky told the Security Council that there was “not a single crime” that Russian troops had not committed in Buka.
“The Russian military searched and deliberately killed anyone who served our country. They shot and killed women outside their homes when they tried to call a survivor. They killed entire families, adults, and people.” Killed children and tried to burn dead bodies,” he said. “Just for their pleasure,” he said, used tanks to crush civilians.
On Tuesday, police and other investigators took to the quiet streets of Buka. The survivors who hid in their homes during the Russian occupation of the city, many of them middle-aged, wandered through old charred tanks and jagged window panes with plastic bags of food and other humanitarian aid. Red Cross personnel checked in monolithic houses.
Many of the dead, seen by Associated Press reporters, were shot at close range, and some had their hands tied or their flesh burned.
The Associated Press and PBS series “Frontline” have jointly verified at least 90 incidents during the war that appear to be in violation of international law. The War Crimes Watch Ukraine project is investigating explicit targeted attacks as well as indiscriminate attacks.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Buka’s images showed “not a random act of a rogue entity” but “a deliberate campaign to kill, torture, rape, torture”. He said the reports of the atrocities were “more than credible”.
“Only non-humans are capable of this,” said Angelica Chernomor, a refugee from Kyiv who went to Poland with her two children and saw photos from Buka. “Even if people live in an authoritarian regime, they should maintain feelings, dignity, but this is not so.”
Chernomor is among more than 4 million Ukrainians who have fled the country in the wake of the February 24 invasion.
Russia has in the past dismissed similar allegations of atrocities by accusing its enemies of making photos and videos and using so-called crisis actors.
As Western leaders condemned the killings in Buka, Romania, Italy, Spain and Denmark, followed in moves by Germany and France that expelled dozens of Russian diplomats on Tuesday. Hundreds of Russian diplomats have been sent home since the start of the invasion, many accused of being spies.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the expulsions a “short-sighted” measure that would complicate communications and warned they would be met with “mutual steps”.
The US, in coordination with the European Union and the Group of Seven countries, will impose more sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, including a ban on all new investment in the country, a senior administration official said, on condition of discussing an upcoming announcement. But speaking.
In addition, the EU’s executive branch proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia, marking the first time the 27-nation bloc has approved the country’s lucrative energy industry at war. Coal imports are estimated at 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) per year.
Hours before the latest proposal was announced, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said that in order to prevent a “new Bukas”, the West should impose the “mother of all sanctions” – on Russian oil and gas.
“A few months of tightening your belt is worth saving thousands of lives,” he said.
But Western countries are divided about how far to go. While some Russians are calling for a boycott of oil and gas, Germany and others fear such a move could land the continent in a serious economic crisis.
Lederer reported from the United Nations. Journalists from Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine, and Associated Press from around the world contributed to this report.
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Oleksandr Stashevsky and Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press