Allegations of Russian war crimes in war-ravaged Ukraine found credence following recovery of over 400 bodies of civilians, lying abandoned in streets near Ukrainian capital Kyiv, following retreat of Russian forces from these areas.
As many as 410 civilian bodies were recovered by the personnel of the Ukrainian armed forces from areas it recently retook from Russian forces in the wider Kyiv region.
The development was confirmed by prosecutor general of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova on Sunday.
“410 bodies of dead civilians were evacuated out of the liberated territories of the Kyiv region. Forensic experts have already examined 140,” Venediktova claimed.
Amed forces of Ukraine regained control over the whole Kyiv region from Russian forces in the last couple of days.
Ukraine has accused Russia of a “deliberate massacre” in the town of Bucha located around 30 kilometres north-west of Kyiv.
Ukrainian troopers reportedly found brutalized bodies of civilians with bound hands, gunshot wounds to the head and signs of torture after Russian forces retreated from the outskirts of Kyiv, authorities said.
Recovery of massacred civilians has sparked new calls for war crimes investigations and sanctions against Russia.
Associated Press journalists in Bucha, a small city northwest of the capital, saw the bodies of at least nine people in civilian clothes who appeared to have been killed at close range.
At least two had their hands tied behind their backs. The AP journalists also saw two bodies wrapped in plastic, bound with tape and thrown into a ditch.
Authorities said they were documenting evidence of alleged atrocities to add to their case for prosecuting Russian officials for war crimes.
Meanwhile, satellite imagery shows a 45-foot-long trench at mass grave in Bucha.
Satellite imagery by Maxar Technologies taken on March 31 show the trench near the Church of St Andrews and Pervozvannoho All Saints where a mass grave has been identified.
Ukraine’s foreign minister Dymtro Kuleba said: “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.”
World leaders have accused Russia of war crimes following discovery of mass graves and allegedly executed civilians near Kyiv.
European Council President Charles Michel on April 3 called Russia’s actions in Bucha a ‘massacre’.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the killings “a punch to the gut,” while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the violence, unseen in Europe for decades, was “horrific” and “absolutely unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, Russia has denounced the allegations of war crimes in Bucha as fake’.
Russian Ambassador to the United States – Anatoly Antonov said that reports of Russian atrocities in Bucha are “false accusations.”
Antonov claimed that Ukrainian forces launched artillery fire on Bucha following the withdrawal of Russian forces, Russian state-run news agency TASS reported.