Ukraine Updates: Biden Calls Putin a 'War Criminal,' Pledges Probe Over Mass Killings in Bucha

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Satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows a closer view of a probable grave site (upper C) in Bucha, Ukraine
Satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows a closer view of a probable grave site (upper C) in Bucha, UkraineCredit: - - AFP
Updates
DPA

Zelenskyy says Russian war criminals will face justice

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that alleged war criminals in Ukraine will be brought to justice.
Ukraine was working with the European Union and the International Criminal Court to ensure that war crimes in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities are fully investigated, the Ukrainian president said in a video message issued late Monday.

Those responsible should be held accountable for the crimes, Zelenskyy asserted. "The time will come when every Russian will learn the whole truth about which of them killed their fellow citizens," he added.

Ukraine says it has recovered the bodies of 410 civilians from the suburban towns of Bucha and Irpin just outside the capital Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian troops. Ukraine, along with many world powers, say Russian soldiers committed the massacre.
Moscow says it had nothing to do with the killings and has called the images "fake."

Zelenskyy reported on his trip to Irpin and Bucha, saying they "are simply destroyed." In addition, he said he feared that Russian troops were now trying to "cover up the traces of their crimes." He again called for stronger sanctions against Russia.

DPA

Ukraine sees largest number of war crimes victims in Borodyanka

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office says it has registered more than 7,000 reports of alleged Russian war crimes in the Kyiv region.
Most of the victims were in Borodyanka, north-west of Kyiv, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said late Monday evening, as cited by Ukraine's UNIAN news agency.

Prosecutor General's Office has already started investigating war crimes in Irpin, Bucha and Worsel.
Pictures of unarmed residents lying lifeless on the ground in the small town of Bucha after Russian troops withdrew have been reverberating around the world since the weekend. Russian troops controlled the area for weeks.

Ukraine, along with many world powers, say Russian soldiers committed the massacre.
Moscow says it had nothing to do with the killings and has called the images "fake." Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky meanwhile pledged a speedy independent review and documentation of atrocities discovered in Bucha.

"As soon as the bridges that the Russians blew up during their retreat have been repaired, experts will have access," he told the German daily Tagesspiegel in remarks published Tuesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross was already involved in collecting evidence, the minister said, adding that other international experts would soon join the investigation.

Reuters

Ukraine President Zelenskyy says he will address UN Security Council on Tuesday

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he will address the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, after saying it is in Kyiv's interest to have the most open investigation into the killing of civilians in Ukraine.

Speaking on Monday, he said that in Bucha, where mass graves and bodies were found after Ukraine took the town back from Russian forces, at least 300 civilians have been killed, and he expects that in Borodyanka and other towns the number of casualties may be even higher.

"I would like to emphasize that we are interested in the most complete, transparent investigation, the results of which will be known and explained to the entire international community," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

Reuters

Ukraine-Russia war: What you need to know

Ukrainian authorities were investigating possible war crimes by Russia after finding hundreds of bodies, some bound and shot at close range, strewn around towns near Kyiv after Kremlin forces withdrew to refocus attacks elsewhere in Ukraine.

War crimes probe

* Ukraine said 50 of some 300 bodies, found after Russian forces withdrew from Bucha northwest of the capital, Kyiv, were victims of extra-judicial killings by Russian troops. Reuters could not verify the report.

Russia said alleged "crimes" by its troops in Bucha were a "provocation" and no resident suffered.

* Ukraine said it found 410 bodies in towns near Kyiv in an investigation into possible war crimes, and called for an International Criminal Court probe.

Fighting

* Ukraine's General Staff said Russia expected to mobilize about 60,000 reservists.

* Russian shelling killed seven people in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, the regional prosecutor's office said.

* Heavy fighting has continued in Mariupol as Russian forces attempt to take the southeastern port city, British military intelligence said.

Peace talks

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appeared in a video aired at the Grammy Awards and appealed to viewers to support Ukrainians "in any way you can".

* Russia said it had requested a UN Security Council meeting because of what Moscow called Kyiv's attempts to disrupt peace talks and escalate violence with a "provocation" in Bucha

Reuters

Russia says it will present 'empirical evidence' it has not been killing civilians in Ukraine

Russia will present "empirical evidence" to the United Nations Security Council that its forces have not been killing civilians in Ukraine and were not involved in events in Bucha, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia's envoy to the UN said on Monday.

"We have empirical evidence to support this," Nebenzya said at a press conference. "We intend to submit them to the Security Council as soon as possible so that the international community is not misled by the false plot of Kyiv and its Western sponsors."

Reuters

Ten people, including a child, killed in Ukraine's Mykolaiv, head of regional administration says

Shelling in Ukraine's southern city of Mykolaiv has killed 10 people, including a child, and injured 46, the head of the regional administration said.

Oleksandr Senkevich said the toll included nine killed in shelling in the evening. "Over today, a total of 10 people have been killed during the shelling and 46 injured," Senkevich said in a video posted on social media.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report.

Reuters

U.S.: Russia likely to shift thousands of troops to eastern Ukraine

Russia probably plans to "deploy tens of thousands of soldiers" to eastern Ukraine as it shifts its focus to the country's south and east, U.S. President Joe Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday.

“At this juncture we believe Russia is revising its war aims” to focus on “eastern and parts of southern Ukraine rather than target most of the territory," Sullivan told reporters at the White House.

Sullivan said the Biden administration would announce fresh military assistance for Ukraine in the coming days and stressed that further sanctions against Russian energy are also on the table in talks with European allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion in Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, is Europe's bloodiest since World War Two.

Russia calls it a "special military operation" aimed at protecting civilians.Sullivan warned the next phase may be protracted with Russian troops outnumbering Ukraine's.

He described as tragic and shocking images that emerging from Bucha, a town recently recaptured by Ukrainian troops as Russian forces regroup.

DPA

Germany, Lithuania expel Russian diplomats after Bucha massacre

Several European countries expelled Russian diplomats on Monday following images of atrocities in Bucha, outside Kiev, allegedly committed by Russian troops during Moscow's war on Ukraine.

The German government declared 40 Russian diplomats "undesirable persons," Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced, an act that is tantamount to expulsion from the country.

The government decided to declare "a significant number of members of the Russian embassy undesirables who have worked every day here in Germany against our freedom, against the cohesion of our society," Baerbock said. "We will not tolerate this any longer."

Berlin's decision was communicated to Russian Ambassador Sergei Nethayev who was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, Baerbock said. The affected envoys now have five days to leave Germany.
The diplomats in question are assumed to be members of Russian intelligence services.

The move comes in the second month of Russia's war on Ukraine and as images of atrocities allegedly committed by Russian troops have shocked the world. More than 4 million people have fled the war which has devastated cities and towns in Ukraine.

Baerbock said the images testified "to an unbelievable brutality on the part of the Russian leadership" and those who followed their propaganda, "to a will to destroy that transcends all borders."
She said similar images could come from other parts of occupied Ukraine. "We must counter this inhumanity with the strength of our freedom and our humanity," she said. "But in doing so, it must also be clear that we must stand up for our freedom and be ready to defend it."

Reuters

Red Cross says its team is being held close to Mariupol in Ukraine

A team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was stopped during an attempt to reach Mariupol, Ukraine, to evacuate civilians and is now being held nearby in Manhush, a spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.

The team was being "held in the town of Manhush, 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Mariupol," ICRC spokesperson Jason Straziuso told Reuters. Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the Red Cross team was being held by "the occupation authorities."

Straziuso declined to give details of who was holding the team, saying only that they had been detained by police. "It's not a hostage situation," he added, saying the ICRC was talking with all parties to clarify the situation and seek their release.

The Red Cross team had been aiming to reach the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday and evacuate some of the remaining residents who are lacking basic supplies. It was their fourth such attempt since Friday. The organization withdrew its team, which included staff members with young children, from the port city in mid-March after they ran out of aid.

Reuters

Ukraine says Russia is preparing eastern assault, attack on Kharkiv

Ukraine's defense ministry said on Monday Russia is preparing to launch a fresh assault in eastern Ukraine to try to take the city of Kharkiv and encircle Ukraine's heavily fortified eastern frontline.

Russia was attacking the towns of Rubizhne and Popasna in Luhansk region to lay the way for an assault on the regional capital of Severodonetsk and also massing forces to capture the besieged port of Mariupol, defense ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said.

Reuters could not confirm the reports and Motuzyanyk did not provide any evidence to back up his account. Severodonetsk and Mariupol lie at the northernmost and southernmost ends of Ukraine's several-hundred kilometer "line of contact", the ceasefire line that Ukrainian forces have held against Russian-backed separatist forces in Donbas since 2015.

Motuzyanyk said Russian units were moving out of Belarus and into Russia, and Moscow was readying fuel and ammunition stockpiles in areas bordering east Ukraine.

Reuters

Russia backs self-proclaimed pro-Kremlin mayor in Ukraine's Mariupol, says city council

Russia has backed a self-proclaimed mayor of Ukraine's southeastern port city of Mariupol who is collaborating with Russian forces, the city council said on Monday in an online post.

Mariupol has been encircled by Russian forces, who have taken control of some of the city, but as of Monday Russia had not succeeded in taking full control, according to the Ukrainian defense ministry.

Reuters

Russia has withdrawn 2/3 of forces near Kyiv, U.S. official says

Russia has repositioned about two thirds of its forces from around Kyiv, with many consolidating in Belarus where they are expected to be refit, resupplied and redeployed elsewhere in Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official said on Monday.

Over the weekend, Ukraine said its forces had seized back all areas around Kyiv, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since Russia launched the invasion. The U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told reporters the United States estimated that prior to the pullback, there had been just under 20 battalion tactical groups focused on Kyiv.

That was less than a sixth of the battalion tactical groups that the Kremlin deployed for the invasion. "We still assess that the vast, the vast majority of the more than 125 battalion tactical groups that the Russians invested in this invasion are still in Ukraine," the official said.

The official estimated that Russian forces that had withdrawn from around Kyiv would likely be redirected towards eastern Ukraine, but that was still not confirmed. "What we continue to believe is that they're going to be refit, resupplied, perhaps maybe even reinforced with additional manpower and then sent back into Ukraine to continue fighting elsewhere," the official said.

Reuters

Governor of Ukraine's Zhytomyr says no Russian troops remain in region

The governor of Ukraine's northern region of Zhytomyr said there were no longer any Russian troops in the region, which lies west of Kyiv on the border with Belarus.

"They left, leaving part of their vehicles, leaving part of their munitions," Governor Vitaliy Bunechko said in an online post.

Reuters

Biden says Putin is a war criminal, calls for war crimes trial

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of war crimes and called for a trial, adding to the global outcry over civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha as more graphic images of their deaths emerged.

"You saw what happened in Bucha," Biden told reporters at the White House. "This warrants him - he is a war criminal." The discovery of a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range in Bucha, outside Kyiv, a town Ukrainian forces reclaimed from Russian troops, looked set to galvanize the United States and Europe into imposing additional sanctions against Moscow.

"We have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight. And we have to get all the detail so this can be an actual, have a war crimes trial," Biden said.

Putin "is brutal. And what's happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone's seen it," Biden said as his United Nations envoy announced Washington would seek Russia's suspension from the UN Human Rights Council.

Reuters

Zelenskyy visits site of mass killing: 'Thousands were killed, tortured, raped'

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (C) walks in the town of Bucha, just northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on April 4, 2022.Credit: RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday it had become harder for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia since Kyiv became aware of the scale of alleged atrocities carried out by Russian troops in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy spoke on national television from the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, where tied bodies shot at close range, a mass grave and other signs of executions have been found in territory retaken from Russian troops.

The Kremlin has denied any accusations related to the killing of civilians in Bucha. "These are war crimes and will be recognized by the world as genocide," Zelenskyy said, wearing body armor and surrounded by military personnel.

"It's very difficult to talk when you see what they've done here," he said. "The longer the Russian Federation drags out the meeting process, the worse it is for them and for this situation and for this war."

"We know of thousands of people killed and tortured, with severed limbs, raped women and murdered children," he said.

Reuters

Ukraine's president says Russian actions in Ukraine make negotiations harder

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday it had become harder for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia since Ukraine had become aware of the scale of alleged atrocities carried out by Russian troops in Ukraine.

"These are war crimes and will be recognized by the world as genocide," Zelenskyy said.

The Kremlin has denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha after corpses were discovered there.

Ido Efrati

Israeli minister visits Ukraine, decries 'Russian war crimes'

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz blasted Russia over "the war crimes it is committing in Ukraine," as he visited a field hospital set up by Israel in the war-torn country.

This is a first visit by an Israeli minister to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24.

"It's very hard to watch the images from the massacre in Bucha," Horowitz tweeted, referring to the mass grave revealed after Russian troops retreated from the Kyiv region.

Read the full story here.

The Associated Press

US seizes yacht owned by oligarch with close ties to Putin

The U.S. government seized a mega yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to the Russian president on Monday, the first in the government’s sanctions initiative to “seize and freeze” giant boats and other pricey assets of Russian elites.

Spain's Civil Guard and U.S. federal agents descended on the yacht at the Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Associated Press reporters at the scene saw police going in and out of the boat on Monday morning.

The joint operation to seize the yacht, with Spain's Civil Guard, the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations, was carried out at the request of U.S. authorities, the Civil Guard said.

Reuters

U.S. pushes to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council

The United States will ask the UN General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday, after Ukraine accused Russian troops of killing dozens of civilians in the town of Bucha.

A two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member assembly in New York can suspend a state from the council for persistently committing gross and systematic violations of human rights.

Speaking in Bucharest on Monday, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said: "Russia's participation on the Human Rights Council is a farce. And it is wrong, which is why we believe it is time the UN General Assembly vote to remove them."

Reuters

UN rights chief says Bucha dead raise possible war crimes questions

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said on Monday the discovery of dead civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha raised questions about possible war crimes.

On Sunday, Reuters saw corpses in Bucha including one man who lay sprawled by the roadside with his hands tied behind his back and a bullet wound to his head. The city's deputy mayor said that 50 dead residents had been victims of extra-judicial killings carried out by Russian troops.

The Kremlin categorically denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians in Bucha. Reuters was unable to independently verify who was responsible for the killings.

DPA

Kremlin rejects 'all accusations' against Russian troops in Bucha

The Kremlin has once again vehemently rejected accusations against Russian troops over the killings of civilians on the outskirts of Kiev.

Images and video taken in Bucha at the weekend showed bodies scattered on the streets after Russian troops withdrew from the area, prompting global outrage and accusations war crimes had been committed.

"We categorically reject all accusations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, according to the Interfax agency.

Reuters

Russia imposes visa restrictions on citizens of 'unfriendly countries'

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday to introduce visa restrictions for citizens of countries that Moscow deems "unfriendly" in response to sanctions over Ukraine.

The decree, which comes into force on Monday, suspends Russia's simplified visa issuance regime with some European Union countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland.

Reuters

Red Cross says cannot reach Mariupol due to security conditions

A team of the International Committee of the Red Cross has not been able to reach the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday to evacuate civilians, a spokesperson said, citing security conditions.

"Due to security conditions, our team has not been able to reach Mariupol today," spokesperson Jason Straziuso said in emailed comments to Reuters. Previous attempts by the Red Cross to reach the city over recent days and weeks have not succeeded.

A child is helped off a bus by Red Cross on Friday.Credit: EMRE CAYLAK - AFP

Reuters

Russian troops no longer control Ukraine's Sumy region, says governor

The governor of Ukraine's northern region of Sumy said on Monday Russian troops no longer occupied any towns or villages in the region and had mostly withdrawn, while Ukrainian troops were working to push out the remaining units.

Speaking on national television, Governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi said Russian troops had abandoned a lot of equipment in the region, which lies on Ukraine's border with Belarus.

haaretz-weekly-new

What Iran Learned From Ukraine War: LISTEN to Former Israel Intel Chief

More than a month into the Ukraine war, is it too soon to call the Russian invasion a failure? What impact will it have on America's international standing, and why has it increased Iran's motivation to acquire nuclear weapons? Retired Israeli general Amos Yadlin, former head of Israel's military intelligence, joins the podcast to discuss these questions amid reports of Russian war crimes on the outskirts of Kyiv.

Yadlin tells host Amir Tibon that Putin's "barbaric" war is a reflection of Russia's failure to "march into Kyiv and be greeted as liberators." Putin, in his view, "lost the war he planned," but can still win another, more brutal one. Listen to the full conversation, which also touches on Israel's ties with China, and the Biden administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reuters

Kremlin condemns Polish comment on hosting U.S. nuclear weapons

The Kremlin on Monday condemned comments by the leader of Poland's ruling party, who said Warsaw would be open to having U.S. nuclear weapons on its soil and would welcome a 50 percent increase in the number of U.S. troops in Europe.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said such a move would only lead to heightened tensions.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who heads the Law and Justice (PiS) party, said at the weekend that Poland would be open to having nuclear weapons stationed on its territory - but that this was not currently under consideration.

Reuters

Germany hindering tougher sanctions on Russia, says Polish PM

Germany is the main roadblock to imposing tougher sanctions on Russia, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday during a news conference, adding that Hungary was not blocking them.

His comment comes after Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a national election on Sunday after facing criticism over an insufficiently tough stance on Russian aggression in Ukraine.

"We have to see that, regardless of how we approach Hungary, this is the fourth such win and we have to respect democratic elections ... it's Germany that is the main roadblock on sanctions. Hungary is for the sanctions," Morawiecki said.

Reuters

U.K's Foreign Secretary calls for tougher sanctions in Poland visit

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in March. Credit: UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR/

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will visit Poland on Monday to call for tougher action to tackle Russian aggression and to support Ukraine in peace talks, her office said in a statement."

(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is yet to show he is serious about diplomacy. A tough approach from the U.K. and our allies is vital to strengthen Ukraine's hand in negotiations," Truss said.

Britain has coordinated with international allies to impose sanctions on key Russian industries and Moscow's wealthy elites with the aim of crippling its economy in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The British government has argued that sanctions need to go further.

DPA

Route for delivering aid between Kiev and Chernihiv to reopen on Monday

Transporting aid between northern Ukrainian Chernihiv and the capital Kiev is expected to be possible again from Monday morning.

From 10 A.M. the freeway route in both directions will reopen, Viacheslav Chaus, the governor of Chernihiv Oblast, said on Telegram.
There will be a weight limit of five tonnes and traffic jams are expected in some places, he said. A strategically important road leads 125 kilometers south to Kiev from Chernihiv.

After talks with Ukraine, Russia agreed to significantly reduce its combat operations near Kiev and Chernihiv last week, which NATO and Kiev have said is a "repositioning" as Moscow moves its focus to the south and east of Ukraine.

Reuters

Footage of dead civilians in Bucha part of plot against Russia, says Kremlin

Russia's foreign ministry said that footage of dead civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha had been "ordered" by the United States as part of a plot to blame Russia.

"Who are the masters of provocation? Of course the United States and NATO," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview on state television late on Sunday. Zakharova said the immediate Western outcry over the images of dead civilians indicated the story had been part of a plan to sully Russia's reputation.

"In this case, it seems to me that the fact that these statements (about Russia) were made in the first minutes after these materials appeared leaves no doubt as to who 'ordered' this story."

Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Russian Investigative Committee, ordered that a probe be opened on the basis that Ukraine had spread "deliberately false information" about Russian armed forces in Bucha, the committee said in a statement.

Anshel Pfeffer

Russian War Crimes in Ukraine Are Exposed. Will That Change Anything?

The gruesome footage revealed over the weekend in the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin and Bucha – of the bodies of Ukrainian civilians, some with their hands bound, both lying by the roadside and in shallow graves – tells an inescapable story. The Russian troops who occupied those areas in the past four weeks, before being pushed back by the Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive, carried out widespread murders among the occupied population before retreating northward, their vehicles laden with pillaged property, to the Belarusian border.

Until now, there have been multiple reports of murder, rape and looting in the areas of Russian occupation, and of course claims by the Ukrainian government of atrocities. The sights from the streets of Irpin and Bucha now leave little doubt that war crimes have been carried out systematically.

Click here to read the full story.

Reuters

New sanctions on Russia needed after Bucha killings, says French President

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that a new round of sanctions targeting Russia were needed and that there were clear indications Russian forces were responsible for the killings of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

"There are very clear clues pointing to war crimes. It is more or less established that the Russian army is responsible (for the Bucha killings)," Macron told France Inter radio.

"What happened in Bucha demands a new round of sanctions and very clear measures," Macron added. Those new sanctions should target coal and oil, said Macron who faces a re-election battle this month.

Russia on Sunday denied its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the town of Bucha and said Ukraine had staged a performance for the Western media. Russia's economy is facing the gravest crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union after the United States and its allies imposed crippling sanctions due to Putin's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Reuters

Satellite imagery shows 45-foot long trench in Bucha where mass grave identified

Satellite images show a 45-foot-long trench dug into the grounds of a Ukrainian church where a mass grave was found this week after Russian forces withdrew from the town of Bucha, a private U.S. company said on Sunday.

Reuters journalists who visited Bucha on Saturday saw bodies lying on the streets of the town, 37 km (23 miles) northwest of the capital Kyiv. A mass grave at one church was still open, with hands and feet poking through the red clay heaped on top.

Reuters

Russia refocuses offensive on eastern Ukraine, says U.K.

Russian forces continue to consolidate and reorganize as they refocus their offensive into the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Monday.

Russian troops, including mercenaries from the Russian state-linked Wagner private military company, are being moved into the area, the Defense Ministry tweeted in a regular bulletin.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report.

new-hdc-logo

Gantz condmns massacre in Bucha, calls it 'war crime'

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in 2021.Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta /AP

In an interview with Kan public radio on Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz condemned "murder" of civilians in the city of Bucha, calling it a "war crime."

"Even in war, one must be careful about morality. Unfortunately, civilians are liable to get hurt, but they must not be killed during war, and here is something that looks very very serious," he said.

Gantz added that "Israel is in the right place in terms of values. Israel is supporting Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine."

The Associated Press

'Fill the silence with your music,' Zelenskyy tells Grammys

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video message at the Grammy Awards to ask for support in telling the story of Ukraine’s invasion by Russia.

During the message that aired on the show Sunday, he likened the invasion to a deadly silence threatening to extinguish the dreams and lives of the Ukrainian people, including children.

“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them,” he said. “But the music will break through anyway.”

Reuters

Ukraine's Zelenskyy says new Russia sanctions are not enough

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that the West would impose a new package of sanctions on Russia over the killing of civilians in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities, but he said that was not enough of a punishment.

He said that hundreds of people had been killed in Bucha and other cities, including civilians who had been shot.

Russia has denied allegations that it troops killed civilians in Bucha.

Reuters

Polish PM calls for tough response to civilian deaths in Ukraine

The European Union must impose harsher sanctions on Russia and supply Ukraine with more arms, Poland's prime minister said on Sunday, as he called for an international tribunal to investigate killings in the town of Bucha.

Ukraine on Sunday accused Russian forces of carrying out a "massacre" in Bucha and Western leaders reacted with outrage to images of bodies strewn across the streets of the town. Russia denies Ukraine's accusation.

"The crimes Russia has committed on close to 300 inhabitants of Bucha and other towns outside Kyiv must be called acts of genocide and be dealt with as such," Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Facebook.

"Everyone responsible - directly or indirectly- must be severely punished by an international tribunal."

DPA

Russia confirms airstrikes near Kiev and Mykolaiv

Russia has confirmed it has carried out several airstrikes on military facilities and fuel depots in the Ukrainian regions of Kiev and Mykolaiv.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday that an airbase control center had been destroyed in Vasylkiv, near Kiev.

Konashenkov also said that fuel depots in the southern Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv and in the Rivne region in the north-west were attacked with rockets. Earlier, the mayor of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevych, reported several rocket attacks.

Reuters

UN chief calls for independent probe of civilian deaths in Ukrainian town

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday said he was "deeply shocked" by images of dead civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, and he called for an independent investigation that "leads to effective accountability."

Guterres posted his comments on Twitter a day after witnesses and officials said that Russian troops killed almost 300 civilians as they withdrew from the town near Kyiv.

"I am deeply shocked by the images of civilians killed in Bucha, Ukraine," Guterres said, joining Western officials in expressing outrage.

DPA

Scholz plans fresh sanctions on Russia over Bucha massacre

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he is looking into imposing further sanctions on Russia following the atrocities committed by Russian troops in Bucha.

"We will agree to further measures from the group of allies in the next few days," the German leader said on Sunday, without giving details of what fresh sanctions might entail.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his supporters would face consequences for their actions, Scholz said. "The murder of civilians is a war crime," Scholz said, describing the footage of streets lined with bodies and mass graves in Bucha, a suburb of Kiev.

DPA

Boris Johnson condemns Russian killings of civilians in Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has strongly condemned the execution of Ukrainian civilians that came to light following the withdrawal of Russian troops from the outskirts of Kiev.

"Russia's despicable attacks against innocent civilians in Irpin and Bucha are yet more evidence that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine," Johnson said in a statement.

The British prime minister promised to do everything in his power to "starve Putin's war machine," pledging that London would both tighten sanctions against Moscow and increase arms supplies and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The prime minister also stressed Britain's support for an International Criminal Court investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine. London would increase its financial support for the ICC probe and send specialist investigators, Johnson said. "We will not rest until justice is served."

Reuters

EU must discuss import ban on Russian gas, German defense minister says

Germany's defense minister said on Sunday that the European Union must discuss banning the import of Russian gas after Ukrainian and European officials accused Russian forces of committing atrocities near Kyiv.

"There has to be a response. Such crimes must not remain unanswered," the defense ministry quoted Christine Lambrecht as saying in an interview with the public broadcaster ARD.

Berlin has so far resisted growing calls to impose an embargo on energy imports from Russia, saying its economy and that of other European countries are too dependent on them. Russia supplies 40% of Europe's gas needs.

But Lambrecht said EU ministers would now have to discuss a ban, according to a tweet from her ministry.

Reuters

U.K. stepping up sanctions and military support for Ukraine, PM Johnson says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "despicable attacks against civilians" in Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv were evidence that Russia was committing war crimes in Ukraine, and that Britain would step up sanctions and military aid in response.

"I will do everything in my power to starve (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's war machine," Johnson said in a statement on Sunday.

"We are stepping up our sanctions and military support, as well as bolstering our humanitarian support package to help those in need on the ground."

Reuters

Ukrainian prosecutors say 410 bodies found in towns near Kyiv

Ukrainian prosecutors investigating possible war crimes by Russia have found 410 bodies in towns near Kyiv and 140 of them had been examined, Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova said on television on Sunday.

Russia denied allegations that its forces killed civilians in the town of Bucha near Kyiv.

Dahlia Scheindlin

Ukraine War: Why Most Israelis Blame Putin, but Most Palestinians Don't

Before three terror attacks ripped through Israeli cities in late March, Israelis had drifted back to an illusory sense of stability. Memories of the May 2021 war were fading, just as hypothetical notions of peace had been fading for years. Palestinians live a parallel reality, in which they cannot forget life under military occupation.

It is almost cliché to observe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and occupation are off the public agenda – but it’s wrong. In fact, these contrasting Israeli and Palestinian experiences of the conflict are such defining aspects of life they may appear to be transparent; but they color how the people of the region view of the world.

As a result, it’s no surprise that Israelis and Palestinians hold differing attitudes towards the apocalyptic war Russia is waging in Ukraine. But the opinions of each side defy expectations.

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DPA

Russians report a second explosion near the Russian city of Belgorod

Following an attack on an oil depot near the southern Russian city of Belgorod a few days ago, a fresh explosion has been reported in the same area near the Ukrainian border.

"There was a bang, debris fell to the ground," the head of the Yakovlevsky district administration, Oleg Medvedev, wrote on a Telegram news channel on Sunday.

Medvedev gave no information on the cause of the incident in the village of Tomarovka, except to say that there had been no casualties and that the debris would be taken away and examined.

DPA

Macron calls for Russia to be held accountable for Bucha killings

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for Russia to be held accountable after the discovery of numerous civilians deaths around the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Images from the town of Bucha showing "hundreds" of murdered civilians on the streets were unbearable, Macron tweeted on Sunday, adding that the Russian authorities "must answer for these crimes."

Numerous dead bodies were discovered in Bucha after the Russian army withdrew. According to Ukrainian authorities, some 280 people have now been buried in mass graves in the town.

Reuters

'This is genocide,' Ukraine's President Zelenskiy tells CBS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of carrying out a genocide in his country, in an interview on Sunday with CBS's "Face the Nation" news program.

"Indeed, this is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people," Zelenskiy said, speaking through a translator.

"We are the citizens of Ukraine and we don't want to be subdued to the policy of Russian Federation. This is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated."

DPA

NATO head expresses 'horror' at killing of civilians in Bucha

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has expressed his horror at the killings of civilians in the town of Bucha, a short distance north of the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

"It is a brutality against civilians we haven't seen in Europe for decades," Stoltenberg told CNN. "It's horrific, and it's absolutely unacceptable that civilians are targeted and killed."

He said the discovery had underscored the need for the war to end and for those responsible for atrocities to be held accountable.

The discovery of the killings followed the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area. Footage of dead bodies on the streets of Bucha have sparked an international outcry.

Samuel Sokol is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem. He was previously a correspondent at the Jerusalem Post and has reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Times of Israel. He is the author of Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews.

Israeli Envoy Blasts 'War Crimes' After Russian Forces Flee Kyiv Suburb

Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine denounced the killing of civilians in a Kyiv suburb as a “war crime” on Sunday, in a break from the more restrained rhetoric exhibited by Israeli officials since Russia invaded the former Soviet republic just over a month ago.

“Deeply shocked by the photos from #Bucha. Killing of civilians is a war crime and cannot be justified,” Ambassador Michael Brodsky tweeted on Sunday morning, using the hashtag #UkraineRussiaWar.

Read the full report here

The Associated Press

Ukrainian troops find brutalized bodies, widespread destruction in Kyiv suburbs

Ukrainian troops are finding brutalized bodies and widespread destruction in suburbs of the capital as Russian soldiers withdraw and Moscow focuses its attacks elsewhere, including missile strikes Sunday that targeted fuel and ammunition supplies in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Associated Press journalists in Bucha, a small city northwest of Kyiv, 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 also saw two bodies wrapped in plastic, bound with tape and thrown into a ditch.

Authorities said they were documenting evidence as Ukraine's military reclaims territory and discovers indications of execution-style slayings to add to their case for prosecuting Russian officials for war crimes.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said scores of killed civilians were found on the streets of Bucha and the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin and Hostomel in what looked like a “scene from a horror movie.”

Arestovych said some people were shot in the head and had their hands bound, and some bodies showed signs of torture, rape and burning.

The capital city's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said civilians were “shot with joined hands” and told German newspaper Bild that “what happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv can only be described as genocide.”

Reuters

Ukraine calls for new sanctions on Russia following 'deliberate' massacre in Bucha

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia on Sunday of carrying out a deliberate "massacre" in the town of Bucha outside Kyiv and called on the G7 to impose "devastating" new sanctions on Moscow.

"We are still gathering and looking for bodies, but the number has already gone into the hundreds. Dead bodies lie on the streets. They killed civilians while staying there and when they were leaving these villages and towns," his ministry quoted him as saying on Twitter.

Russia has so far not commented publicly on the claims. Moscow has previously repeatedly denied Ukrainian claims that it has targeted civilians.

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