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World reacts: Russia ‘must answer for crimes’ in Ukraine

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World leaders are voicing their reactions over the “unbearable” images of murdered civilians in a Ukrainian town. WARNING: Distressing

French President Emmanuel Macron is the latest world leader to condemn the “unbearable” images of murdered civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha and said Russian authorities “must answer for these crimes”.

Evidence of possible civilian killings around Kyiv has emerged as the Russian army has pulled back from the capital in the face of ferocious resistance from Ukrainian forces.

AFP reporters saw at least 20 bodies, all in civilian clothing, strewn across a single street in the town of Bucha on Friday.

One had his hands tied behind his back with a white cloth, and his Ukrainian passport left open beside his body.

And a Ukrainian official said 57 bodies had been buried in a mass grave in the town outside the capital, showing AFP a slit trench were the bodies lay.

Roughly ten bodies were visible, either unburied or partially covered by the earth.

Some of the bodies were concealed in black zip-up body bags while others were in civilian clothing.

A senior Adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky Mykhailo Podolyak posted similar shocking images of dead bodies from Bucha to Twitter.

“Kyiv region. 21st century Hell,” he wrote.

“Bodies of men and women, who were killed with their hands tied. The worst crimes of Nazism have returned to the European Union.

“This was purposely done by Russia.”

He called to impose an embargo on energy resources and to close seaports urging leaders to “Stop the murders”.

Ukrainian official Dmytro Kuleba posted more images, saying the “Bucha massacre proves that Russian hatred towards Ukrainians is beyond anything Europe has seen since WWII”.

“The only way to stop this: help Ukraine kick Russians out as soon as possible”

He said allies “know our needs”, calling for tanks, combat aircraft and heavy air defence systems “now”.

Wladimir Klitschko, the brother of Kyiv mayor Vitali, also accused Russia of committing genocide in a clip from Bucha with dead bodies pictured around him.

He said civilians had “had been shot in the head with their hands tied behind their back. This is genocide of the Ukrainian population”.

Vitali Klitschko meanwhile said: “What happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv can only be described as genocide.

“Cruel war crimes for which Putin is responsible there – civilians shot with their hands bandaged.”

Macron wrote on Twitter: “On the streets, hundreds of civilians cowardly murdered.”

It came as Zelensky accused Russia of committing genocide and attempting to eliminate the “whole nation” of Ukraine.

“This is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people,” Zelensky told the CBS program Face the Nation, according to a transcript provided by the network on Sunday.

“We are the citizens of Ukraine. We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities,” Zelensky said amid a chorus of international outrage over the behaviour of Russian troops in Ukraine.

He later added: “Mothers of Russian soldiers should see that. See what b*stards you’ve raised. Murderers, looters, butchers.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said light must be shed on the Russian army’s alleged “crimes” against civilians.

“We must shed light on these crimes committed by the Russian army,” Scholz said in a statement, adding that the perpetrators must be held accountable and international organisations granted access to the region to “document these atrocities”.

US and NATO leaders voiced shock and horror at the new evidence of atrocities and warned that Russian troop movements away from Kyiv did not signal a withdrawal or end to the violence.

“You can’t help but see these images as a punch to the gut,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN a day after horrific footage from Bucha, recently retaken from Russian forces, was widely aired.

“This is the reality of what’s going on every single day as long as Russia’s brutality against Ukraine continues,” Blinken said.

Michael Carpenter, United States Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said “Russia’s rampage in Bucha will forever live in infamy”.

NATO Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said the killings of civilians in Bucha are “horrific.” “It is a brutality against civilians we haven’t seen in Europe for decades, and it’s horrific and it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Stoltenberg told CNN.

Stoltenberg also said he was not “too optimistic” about Russia’s claim to be pulling troops away from Kyiv.

“What we see is not a withdrawal, but we see that Russia is repositioning its troops,” he told CNN.

“We should not in a way be too optimistic because the attacks will continue and we are also concerned about potential increased attacks,” Stoltenberg said.

EU chief Charles Michel pledged further sanctions on Moscow as he condemned “atrocities” carried out by Russian forces .

“Shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region #BuchaMassacre,” European Council head Michel wrote on Twitter.

“EU is assisting Ukraine & NGO’s in gathering of necessary evidence for pursuit in international courts.” British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said that as evidence mounted of “appalling acts”, Russia’s attacks on civilians must be investigated as “war crimes”



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