German Foreign Minister accuses Russia of “war crimes” amid reports of mass grave, executions in Kyiv suburb.
As Russian troops retreat from the suburbs of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, evidence of atrocities committed by the invading forces have coming to light, media reports say.
Corpses of executed civilians and mass graves were found the town of Bucha, just 14 miles northwest of Kyiv. “An AFP news agency reporter in Bucha, near Kyiv, counted at least 20 bodies. At least one man had his hands tied,” The BBC reported Sunday.
The Reuters reported that “a mass grave at one church ground was still open, with hands and feet poking through the red clay heaped on top.” Nearly 300 civilians were buried in the shallow grave, Ukranian authorities said.
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“We found mass graves. We found people with their hands and with their legs tied up… and with shots, bullet holes, in the back of their head,” senior Ukrainian government spokesman, Sergey Nikiforov, said. “We found half-burned bodies as if somebody tried to hide their crimes but they didn’t have enough time to do it properly,” he added.
The Associated Press reported the alleged Russian war crimes in Bucha:
Associated Press journalists in Bucha, a suburb northwest of Kyiv, watched as Ukrainian soldiers backed by a column of tanks and other armored vehicles used cables to drag bodies off of a street from a distance. Locals said the dead — the AP counted at least six — were civilians killed without provocation by departing Russian soldiers.
“Those people were just walking and they shot them without any reason. Bang,” said a Bucha resident who declined to give his name citing safety reasons. “In the next neighborhood, Stekolka, it was even worse. They would shoot without asking any question.”
Ukraine and its Western allies reported mounting evidence of Russia withdrawing its forces from around Kyiv and building its troop strength in eastern Ukraine.
Europe Reacts of Russian Atrocities
Germany, Britain, and the European Union expressed shock over the gruesome discovery of the suspected Russian war crimes in the town on Bucha.
In a telephone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson spoke of “immense suffering being inflicted on civilians” by the Russian invasion.
“Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, accuses Russia of “war crimes” over dead civilians bound and dead left on the streets following Russia’s withdrawal from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha,” German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Sunday.
Germany and the EU threatened new sanctions in light of the latest revelations. “European Council chief Charles Michel on Sunday pledged further sanctions on Moscow as he condemned “atrocities” carried out by Russian forces in the town of Bucha near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv,” state-run TV channel France 24 reported.
Russia Intensifies Campaign in the East, South
As Russian troops retreat from northern Ukraine, Moscow has intensified its campaign in the east and along the country’s 1700-mile coastline. After the Russian ground offensive failed to take the capital, the Kremlin is eager to capture more territory in eastern Ukraine and cut off the country’s access to the sea.
The strategic Black Sea port city of Odesa and other Ukrainian coastal cities have come under renewed Russian fire, news reports on Sunday suggest.
The BBC reported the latest Russian escalation:
Following air strikes by Russian forces on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, we are now receiving reports of an attack on another port city, Mykolaiv.
Anton Herashchenko, an aide to Ukraine’s interior minister, said that local authorities had reported several rocket attacks on Mykolaiv, Reuters reports.
Russia’s military has been targeting Ukraine’s southern ports – including Odesa and Mykolaiv – in an apparent attempt to block Ukraine from the Black Sea and to create a land corridor from Russia to the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow took control of in 2014.
Russia-Ukraine Peace Treaty in Offing?
News reports suggest that after 38 days of fighting the Russian invasion may soon be coming to an end. The draft peace treaty is in an “advance stage,” Germany’s DW News reported Saturday. There are signs that Russia could be scaling back its operation, as its ground forces retreat from the north and it pushes to consolidate gains in the east of Ukraine.
Germany’s DW News noted citing Russian news agency Interfax:
Ukraine has reported that Russia has given indications that a draft peace treaty is at an advanced stage. Citing Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia, the agency [Interfax] reported that negotiations were at the point of direct consultations.
Arakhamia reportedly told Ukrainian television that Russia had accepted Ukraine’s overall stance, with the exception of its position on Crimea.
He said if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to meet Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the venue would most likely be in Turkey. Arakhamia said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called the two leaders on Friday and “seemed to confirm from his side that they are ready to arrange a meeting in the near future.”
Despite such optimistic claims, it is unlikely that Ukraine will be willing to accept Russia’s redrawing of its map, or Russian troops will be withdrawing from newly-occupied territories.DONATE
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