Volodymyr Zelensky breaks down in tears as he visits Bucha
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Horrific images and footage from towns and cities near the capital have shocked the world this week as evidence grows of Russia’s war crimes. Civilians in Bucha have been found shot in the back of the head with their hands tied following what seems to have been executions. Bodies have been discovered in mass graves and reports have emerged of women being raped in front of their children.
The atrocities committed by Putin’s troops have drawn condemnation across the world as Russian forces have pulled back from areas around Kyiv, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
Journalist Douglas Murray, writing in The Sun, said: “Clearly the Russian army was surprised by the speed at which they had to flee. Because they did not have time to cover their tracks.
“The world has now seen the crimes they carried out. In the city of Bucha, just outside the capital of Kyiv, the first Ukrainian forces back into the city managed to record the horrors. Bodies of civilians lay in the street outside many of the houses. All of them had been shot.”
He continued: “Eyewitnesses in the town of Irpin, north of the capital, recounted how they saw drunk Russian troops kicking down the doors of houses, looting them and pulling out the women to rape them.
The Ukrainian government launched a war crimes investigation into Russia’s invasion after it said it found the bodies of at least 410 civilians in areas around Kyiv.
Evidence has suggested unarmed civilians were shot at close range, including women and children.
Other reports of Ukrainian women raped and murdered as they sheltered from the conflict and Putin’s troops torturing civilians and booby-trapping bodies as they retreated from occupied towns.
The Russian president has been blasted for the atrocities committed in Ukraine, with US President Joe Biden calling for the Russian leader to be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Speaking about Putin as evidence of civilians massacred in Bucha emerged on Tuesday, Mr Biden said: “You may remember I got criticised for calling Putin a war criminal.
“You saw what happened in Bucha – he is a war criminal… but we have to gather all the detail so this can have a war crimes trial.”
He said that Putin would be “held accountable” for the heinous acts committed by his military.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to millions of Russians on Tuesday to distance themselves from Putin’s war crimes.
In a recorded address of Tuesday, he described Putin’s atrocities as a “stain on the honour of Russia” which “betray the trust of every Russian mother who proudly waves goodbye to her son as he heads off to join the military”.
He added: “Those responsible will be held to account. And history will remember who looked the other way. Your president is committing war crimes. But I cannot believe he’s acting in your name.”
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The US state department has said that it had credible reports of rape, torture and summary executions carried out by Russian forces in Ukraine.
The Pentagon has said it was “fairly obvious” the crimes were committed by Russian troops but more investigation was needed to assert which units were responsible.
State department spokesman Ned Price said: “There are reports and images of a nightmare litany of atrocities.”
Addressing the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had been allowed to commit the “most terrible war crimes we have seen since the Second World War”.
He said the body should be dissolved if it cannot rein in Russia and called for Putin to be tried for war crimes.
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