BUSHA, Ukraine (Associated Press) – Handcuffed corpses, injuries from nearby gunshots and signs of torture were littered with signs of torture in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian soldiers withdrew from the area. The Ukrainian authorities accused the departed forces on Sunday of war crimes He left behind a “scene from a horror movie”.
When pictures of corpses – of people who the residents said were killed indiscriminately – began to emerge from Bosha, a large number of European leaders condemned the atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow. Noting how the shocking reports shocked many leaders, Germany’s defense minister suggested the European Union consider banning imports of Russian gas.
So far, 410 civilian bodies have been found in towns in the Kyiv region that were recently recovered from Russian forces, said Irina Venediktova, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General.
Associated Press reporters saw the bodies of at least 21 people in various locations around the city of Bucha, northwest of the capital. A group of nine people, all in civilian clothes, were scattered around a site that residents said was used by Russian forces as a base. They seemed to be killed at close range. At least two hands were tied behind their backs, one was hit in the head, and the other’s legs were tied.
Ukrainian officials have blamed the killings in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs squarely at the feet of Russian forces, with the president calling them evidence of genocide. But the Russian Defense Ministry dismissed the accusations as “provocative.”
The discoveries came on the heels of the Russian withdrawal from the area around the capital, an area that has seen heavy fighting since troops invaded Ukraine from three directions on February 24. The sweeping forces from Belarus to the north spent weeks trying to clear the road to Kyiv, but their advance was halted in the face of the determined defense of Ukrainian forces.
Moscow now says it is focusing its offensive on the east of the country, but it has also laid siege to a city in the north and continued bombing other cities in a war that has left thousands dead and forced more than 4 million Ukrainians to flee their country. .
Russian forces advanced into Bucha in the early days of the invasion and remained until March 30. With those troops gone, residents gave harrowing testimonies on Sunday, saying that soldiers shot and killed civilians for no apparent reason.
One resident, who declined to be named out of fear for his safety, said that Russian forces went into a building and took people from the basements they were hiding in, checked their phones for any evidence of anti-Russian activity and took them away. away or shoot them.
Another resident, Hana Heriga, said that Russian forces shot a neighbor who had gone out to collect firewood for heating.
He went to get some firewood when suddenly (the Russians) started shooting. They hit him just above his heel, crushing him and he fell to the ground,” Hiriga said. “Then they shot his entire left leg with the shoe. Then they shot him all over (his chest). Another shot went just below the temple. It was a controlled bullet to the head.”
The AP saw two bodies, a man and a woman, wrapped in plastic that residents said they covered and placed in a pole so that a proper funeral could be arranged.
The resident, who declined to be identified, said the man was killed as he was leaving the house.
He said: “He raised his hands, then they shot him.”
Oleksiy Aristovich, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, described the corpses lying in the streets of the suburbs of Irbin, Hostomil, as well as Bucha as “a scene from a horror movie.” He claimed that some of the women found dead were raped before they were killed, and then the bodies were burned by the Russians.
“This is genocide,” Zelensky told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
But the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the photos and videos of the bodies were “supervised by the Kyiv regime of Western media”. She noted that the Mayor of Bucha did not mention any violations a day after the departure of the Russian forces.
The ministry that brought the accusation said that “no civilian faced any violent act by the Russian army” in Bucha.
In Mutizin, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Kyiv, residents told the AP on Sunday that Russian forces had killed the city’s mayor, her husband and son, and dumped their bodies into a pit in a pine forest behind houses where Russian troops had been sleeping. . Inside the crater, AP reporters saw four bodies of people who appeared to have been shot at close range. The mayor’s husband had his hands behind his back, with a piece of rope nearby, and a piece of plastic wrapped around his eyes like a blindfold.
Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshuk confirmed the killing of the mayor while he was being held by Russian forces.
Some European leaders said the killings in the Kyiv region amounted to war crimes. The United States said earlier that it believed Russia had committed war crimesAnd Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken described images of what happened near Kyiv as a “punch in the gut” on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“It is a brutality against civilians that we have not seen in Europe in decades,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the same presentation.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko has called on countries to immediately end imports of Russian gas, saying they are financing the killings.
In a twist, Germany’s defense minister said the EU should consider doing just that. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Sunday evening on German radio ARD that ministers “will have to talk about stopping gas supplies from Russia.” “Such crimes should not go unanswered.”
With the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area around the capital, they put pressure on other regions of the country. Russia said it was directing its forces into the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years.
In that region, Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov saw some of the war’s greatest suffering, remained cut off. About 100,000 civilians – less than a quarter of the pre-war population of 430,000 – are believed to be trapped there with little or no food, water, fuel, and medicine.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Sunday that a team sent on Saturday to help evacuate residents had not yet arrived in the city.
The Ukrainian authorities said that Russia agreed a few days ago to allow safe passage from the city, but similar agreements repeatedly collapsed in light of the continued bombing.
The mayor of Chernihiv, which also cut off shipments of food and other supplies Weeks ago, it was announced Sunday, that the continuous Russian bombing had destroyed 70% of the northern city.
On Sunday morning, Russian forces fired missiles at the Black Sea port of Odessa, southern Ukraine, sending clouds of dark smoke covering parts of the city. The Russian military said the targets were an oil processing plant and fuel depots.
The governor of the Kharkiv region said on Sunday that Russian artillery and tanks launched more than 20 raids on Ukraine’s second largest city and its suburbs in the northeast of the country over the past day.
In a town southeast of the city, Oleh Senehubov said Russian forces fired on a convoy of buses trying to evacuate patients from a hospital badly damaged in the bombing the previous day. Sinihopov said about 70 patients had to be moved away from Balaklia Hospital, but that buses were unable to enter the town.
The head of the Ukrainian delegation in talks with Russia said Moscow’s negotiators had informally agreed to most of the draft proposal discussed during direct talks in Istanbul this week, but no written confirmation was provided.
Qena reported from Mutizin, Ukraine. Yuras Karamano in Lviv, Ukraine, and Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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