Bucha, Kyiv suburb destroyed by Russian troops: What you need to know
Horrifying pictures of massacre in the town of Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, reveal civilian bodies littering the street following five weeks of near-constant firefights.
The images were shot by Agence France-Presse on Saturday, the same day Ukraine proclaimed the town liberated from Russian armies.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Shocking images: The images show the mounting civilian toll of Russia’s brutal assault: about 20 civilian men found strewn across a street including a man with his hands tied behind his back with a piece of cloth, another tangled up in a bicycle by a grassy bank.
- Civilian executions: “Corpses of executed people still line the Yabluska street in Bucha. Their hands are tied behind their backs with white ‘civilian’ rags, they were shot in the back of their heads. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they perpetrated here,” Bucha mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said to Reuters on Saturday.
- Mass grave: A mass grave has been found in Bucha, where bodies were first buried in the first days of the war, residents assert. A CNN team saw at least a dozen bodies in body bags piled inside the grave. Some were already partially covered. Residents told CNN that around 150 people are buried there. The mayor of Bucha said that there could be up to 300 victims buried on site.
- Zelensky’s statements: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an end of Russian “war crimes” in a video address Sunday, and for Russian leaders to be held accountable for the military’s actions. “This is genocide,” he said. “I want all the leaders of the Russian Federation to see how their orders are being fulfilled.”
- Russia’s reaction: The Russian Ministry of Defense alleged that the extensive footage was “fake,” saying “not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions,” during Russia’s occupation of Bucha. The Russian government has consistently reacted to allegations of civilian casualties inflicted by Russian forces with blanket denials.
- International outrage: Western leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have called for war crimes investigations and increasing sanctions on Russia. EU Council President Charles Michel vowed further sanctions on Russia, while United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said an independent investigation into the civilians killed in Bucha was “essential.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the images show a “brutality against civilians we haven’t seen in Europe for decades.”