Russian withdrawal from kyiv region exposes images of devastation and possible war crimes | International
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The European Union (EU) is helping to collect evidence of the atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine so that those responsible can be brought to justice, European Council President Charles Michel said on Sunday. He has also announced that the community partners are preparing new sanctions against Moscow.
“Dismayed by the disturbing images of the atrocities committed by the Russian Army in the liberated region of kyiv,” he said through his Twitter account. Michel added that the EU “is helping Ukraine and NGOs to gather the necessary evidence for their prosecution in international courts.” He also noted that “more sanctions and support from the EU are on the way.” In line with Brussels, London and Berlin have called for those responsible for these crimes to be held accountable, while the Ukrainian government has requested that the Criminal Court of Justice (CJI), based in The Hague, investigate on the ground.
A team of reporters from the AFP news agency has witnessed the devastation caused by Russian troops in the streets of Bucha, some 30 kilometers northwest of kyiv. A few days after Vladimir Putin ordered the start of the offensive on February 24, a Russian convoy tried to cross the town on its way to the capital, but was ambushed. In his withdrawal, as AFP has documented, he left around twenty corpses lying in the streets, some with their hands tied.
Mass grave in Bucha
Bucha Mayor Anatoli Fedoruk has stated that there are another 280 bodies buried in a mass grave. “Some were lying on the sidewalk, others next to a car or a bicycle,” he said in a video posted on Facebook.
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The high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has also declared this Sunday “in shock over news of atrocities committed by Russian forces” and said the EU is “providing assistance to Ukraine to document war crimes”. “All cases must be prosecuted, in particular by the International Court of Justice,” Borrell said, adding that the EU “will continue its strong support for Ukraine,” he said on Twitter.
On the other hand, Borrell congratulated Ukraine for the liberation of most of the kyiv region. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced this Sunday in a report that “summary executions” and “other serious abuses” that could constitute war crimes have been committed in the areas of Ukraine under Russian control.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was also “dismayed by the reports of unspeakable horrors in areas from which Russia is withdrawing”. “An independent investigation is urgently needed. Those responsible for war crimes will be held accountable,” Von der Leyen stressed.
The NGO claims to have documented between February 27 and March 14 several cases in which Russian forces committed what would constitute war crimes against civilians in occupied areas in the Chernigov, Kharkov and kyiv regions. According to a statement from the organization, these cases include a rape, two summary executions, of six men on one occasion and one on another, and other instances of violence and threats against civilians.
The summary executions documented by witness interviews took place on March 4 in Bucha, northwest of the capital, and on February 27 in Staryi Bykiv, in the Chernihiv region, northeast of kyiv.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba called for an ICC mission to be sent to the Bucha district after hundreds of civilian bodies were found. Kuleba asked the ICC and other international organizations to go to Bucha and the rest of the northern areas of the capital that were under Russian control until Friday to collect evidence of possible war crimes.
Bucha massacre was deliberate. Russians aim to eliminate as many Ukrainians as they can. We must stop them and kick them out. I demand new devastating G7 sanctions NOW:
-Oil, gas, coal embargo
-Close all ports to Russian vessels and goods
-Disconnect all Russian banks from SWIFT pic.twitter.com/oZkCAETCQp
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) April 3, 2022
“The Bucha massacre was deliberate. The Russians want to eliminate as many Ukrainians as they can,” the minister said on Twitter on Sunday, also urging the international community to impose “devastating sanctions against Moscow.
British Foreign Minister Liz Truss also defended this Sunday the need to investigate the “indiscriminate attacks” by Russian forces against civilians in Ukraine as war crimes. “We will not allow Russia to cover up its involvement in these atrocities with cynical disinformation and we will ensure that Russia’s actions see the light,” Truss said, according to the British newspaper. Guardian. Thus, Truss has assured that London will support the investigation at the CFI of the “regrettable acts” perpetrated by Russia in towns such as Irpin and Bucha, on the outskirts of kyiv.
Her German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, has stated on his Twitter profile that Bucha’s images are “unbearable”. “Those responsible for these war crimes must be held accountable,” said the German Foreign Minister.
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