March 26, 2023


Ukraine accused Russian forces of a “massacre” in Bucha. Western nations reacted to images showing dead bodies and called for new sanctions against Moscow.

Russia’s defense ministry denies the Ukrainian allegations. It said that footage and photos showing bodies in Bucha were “yet more provocation” by Ukraine.

After Ukraine claimed on Saturday that it had retaken control of the entire Kyiv region and seized towns from Russian troops, images were taken in Bucha.

They caused outrage in Ukraine as well as abroad and increased pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin through increasing the likelihood for further Western sanctions. The invasion of Russia, which started on February 24, has been retaliated by the West.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, stated on Twitter that the “Bucha massacre” was intentional.

Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary-of-State, described the images as a “punch in the stomach”. German Foreign Minister Annalena Bock stated that Russia must be held responsible for “war crimes”. Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, said that his government would increase sanctions.

“Putin, his supporters will feel these consequences,” stated German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He also said that Western allies would be agreeing to further sanctions in the days ahead.

Christine Lambrecht, Germany’s defense minister, stated that the European Union should discuss banning Russian gas imports. This is a departure from Berlin’s resistance to an embargo on Russian energy imports.

Russia’s first public statement on the allegations was made by Moscow’s defense ministry. They described Bucha photos and videos as “another staged performance of the Kyiv regime to the Western media.”

Russia previously denied targeting civilians, and rejected war crimes allegations in “special military operations” that it called “denazifying” and demilitarizing Ukraine. Ukraine claims it was invaded without provocation.

Reuters witnessed bodies lying in a mass grave on Saturday. On Sunday, Anatoliy Fedoruk showed reporters two corpses wrapped in white cloth. One of them appeared to be shot in the mouth.

Oleksiy Arestovych was an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zielenskiy. He said that Ukrainian troops had discovered the bodies of women who were raped, set alight, and the bodies of officials and children from the local area.

The Bucha mayor, located 37 kilometers (23 miles) north of Kyiv, claimed that 300 people were killed in a month-long Russian occupation.

Reuters could not verify Fedoruk and Arestovych’s claims immediately.

The Ukrainian foreign minister demanded evidence from Russian war crimes to be collected by the International Criminal Court, while France’s and Britain’s foreign ministers said they would support such an investigation.

Legal experts warn that a Russian leader or Putin would be facing many hurdles, and could take several years to prosecute

General Iryna Venedyktova, Ukraine’s Prosecutor, stated that prosecutors investigating Russia’s war crimes had discovered 410 bodies in Kyiv and that 140 of them were being examined.

Russia says it will focus its attention on the eastern Ukraine and has pulled back troops that threatened Kyiv from north.

On Sunday, fighting was reported in many parts of Ukraine.

According to the governor of eastern Donetsk, shelling continued through the night and into the morning.

Russia claimed that it had struck a refinery used by the Ukrainian military. Odesa’s city council stated that “critical infrastructure facilities” were damaged.

Dmytro Lunin was the governor of central Poltava. He said that the Kremenchug oil refining plant, located 350 kilometres (220 mi) northeast of Odesa had been damaged in a separate rocket attack.

Two explosions were heard in Belgorod, Russia, on Sunday. This was just days after Ukrainian authorities had accused Russian forces of attacking a fuel depot near the border with Ukraine.

Evacuation efforts at the Mariupol port in the southeast and Berdyansk areas were to continue, with a convoy prepared by the Red Cross.

Security concerns led to the ICRC abandoning earlier attempts. Russia blamed the ICRC in the delays.

Russia’s main target in Ukraine’s southeast region of Donbas is Mariupol. Tens of thousands of civilians have been held captive for weeks without access to food or water.

There was no sign of progress in negotiations to end the war. However, Russia’s chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said that talks would resume via videoconference on Monday.

Medinsky stated that Ukraine had shown more realism in pledging to be neutral and renunciating nuclear weapons. However, no progress has been made on key Russian demands.

Telegram: “I repeat again, Russia’s position regarding Crimea and Donbas is UNCHANGED,” he stated.

Russia annexed Crimea to Ukraine in 2014. It has also recognized declarations of independence made by self-proclaimed republics Luhansk (in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine) that rebelled against Kyiv.


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