Bucha: Bodies strewn on the street in a Kyiv suburb as Ukraine accuses Russia of war crimes

A man’s hands are tied behind his back with a white cloth. Another man lies alone, tangled in a bicycle on a grassy embankment. A third man lies in the middle of the road, next to the charred remains of a burned-out car.

The shocking images of the carnage in Bucha were captured by Agence France-Presse on Saturday, the same day Ukraine declared the city liberated from Russian forces. Reports of alleged Russian atrocities surface his powers withdraw from areas near Kyiv after a failed attempt to encircle the capital.

The city of Bucha has endured five weeks of near-continuous firefights. Now officials and human rights groups are blaming withdrawn Russian forces for the deaths of civilians.

“Bodies of executed people still line Yabluska Street in Bucha. Her hands are tied behind her back with white ‘civilian’ rags, she was shot in the back of the head. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they committed here,” Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk told Reuters on Saturday.

The alleged atrocities have sparked international outrage, with Western leaders calling for a war crimes investigation and new sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine’s presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych said Sunday reports from cities in the Kyiv region paint a “post-apocalyptic picture” of life under Russian occupation.

“This is a special appeal aimed at drawing world attention to those war crimes, crimes against humanity committed by Russian troops in Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel,” Arestovych said. “These are liberated cities, an image from horror movies, a post-apocalyptic image.”

“Victims of these war crimes have already been found, including women raped who tried to burn them, local government officials killed, children killed, elderly people killed, men killed, many with their hands tied, signs of torture and shot in the back of the head. Robberies, attempts to steal gold, valuables, carpets, washing machines. This, of course, is taken into account by the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine and law enforcement agencies and international criminal courts.”

CNN could not independently confirm the details of the men’s deaths. CNN has asked the Russian Defense Ministry for comment on allegations of executions of civilians in the Kyiv region and other parts of Ukraine.

Evidence of apparent atrocities in Bucha came when Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that it had documented allegations of war crimes in the occupied territories of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv regions.

The human rights group said Sunday the allegations included “one count of repeated rape, two counts of summary executions, one by six men, the other by a man, and other counts of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14.” . 2022.”

In Bucha on March 4, Russian forces “rounded up five men and summarily executed one of them,” HRW wrote. A witness told the human rights group that soldiers forced the men to kneel in the street and pulled their shirts over their heads before shooting one of the men in the back of the head.

HRW also alleges that on February 27, six men were rounded up and later executed in the village of Staryi Bykiv in the Chernihiv region.

In Malaya Rohan, a village in the Kharkiv region, on March 13 a Russian soldier repeatedly raped a woman at a school where she was taking refuge with her family, the victim told HRW. “She said he hit her and cut her face, neck and hair with a knife,” HRW wrote. The woman fled to Kharkiv the next day “where she could get medical treatment and other services.”

They tried to show what life was like under Russian occupation.  Then they disappeared

And in the village of Vorzel, 50 kilometers northwest of Kyiv, Russian soldiers “threw a smoke grenade into a basement and then shot dead a woman and a 14-year-old child as they came out of the basement where they had taken shelter.” said HRW.

“The cases we have documented amount to unspeakable, premeditated cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” Hugh Williamson, HRW director for Europe and Central Asia, said in the statement. “Rape, murder and other acts of violence against persons in the custody of Russian forces should be investigated as war crimes.”

CNN has not independently verified the details of the HRW report and has contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry for comment.

The reports and footage have accelerated calls for investigations into war crimes.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the State Department will help document all atrocities committed by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians.

“You can’t help but see these images as a punch in the gut,” Blinken told CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union on Sunday.

“Since the aggression, we have come out and said that we believe Russian forces committed war crimes and we have been working to document this in order to pass the information we have to the relevant instructions and organizations that do.” all will do this together. And there must be accountability for that.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement on Sunday that “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians during Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes”.

European Union Council President Charles Michel promised further sanctions against Russia and said in a post on Twitter that he was “shocked by the haunting images of atrocities committed by the Russian army in the liberated #BuchaMassacre region”.

CNN’s Tara John and Nathan Hodge reported and wrote from Lviv. Jonny Hallam reported from Atlanta. Amy Cassidy in London and James Frater reported from Brussels. Niamh Kennedy reported from London.

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