Brian Gornick - Staff Writer - News
As Russian troops withdraw from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, over the past few weeks, more evidence of Russian war crimes has been revealed in the surrounding suburbs.
The ghastly images of corpses strewn out amongst destroyed tanks and burned buildings came to light as Ukrainian soldiers retook control of the former Russian-occupied suburbs. Some were found with their hands tied behind their backs and had gunshot wounds, suggesting they were executed by Russian soldiers. Others were found burned.
In an interview with AP News, Bucha resident Volodymyr Pilhutskyi spoke of how his neighbor, Pavlo Vlasenko, was taken by Russian soldiers after his military pants and his son’s security guard uniform looked suspicious. Vlasenko was one of the bodies identified in Bucha, with burn marks from a flamethrower.
Destroyed Russian military equipment lies derelict among shelled buildings in Bucha, Ukraine.
“I came closer and saw his body was burnt, they didn’t just shoot him,” Pilhutskyi told AP News.
Ukrainian officials in Bucha are sharing similar accounts like Pilhutskyi’s. Vitaly Chayka, an employee at a cemetery in Bucha, has been processing the dead in Bucha at the cemetery. Chayka told the Washington Post of the work they are doing, and how the cemetery is struggling to keep up with the ever growing number of corpses.
“There are fifty-eight here and two more in the van,” he told the Washington Post. “They’re all men – the women and children mostly fled – but they are all civilians, too. None were wearing uniforms.”
Officials documenting Russian war crimes pause over their work in a Bucha cemetery, as slain residents wait for burial.
Russia has denied the accusations of war crimes. In a Telegram post from April 3rd, Russia’s Defense Ministry called the images of bodies a staged event set up by the Ukrainian government.
“All this confirms conclusively that the photos and video footage from Bucha are another hoax, a staged production and provocation by the Kiev regime for the Western media,” Russia’s Defense Ministry stated.
While Russia denies that their armed forces were responsible for the killings in Bucha, satellite imagery and videos from Bucha obtained by the New York Times offers a different account of what happened.
According to the New York Times, satellite imagery provided to them by Maxar Technologies shows bodies strewn across Yablonska Street in Bucha between March 9th and March 11th, while Bucha was under Russian occupation.
This corroborates another video obtained by the Times from a local council member on April 1st that shows the same bodies laid out on Yablonska Street.
The images have sparked worldwide outrage. On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council after the videos and pictures in Bucha were revealed. The vote was headed by the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who called the vote a “historic moment”.
The U.N. General Assembly votes to suspend Russia’s rights on the U.N. Civil Rights Council. Photo: news.un.org
Nations across the globe have also leveled their own punishments against Russia in response to the war crime accusations.
European nations have expelled over 200 Russian diplomats over the past week and have leveled further sanctions against the Russian Federation, including placing sanctions on Russian President Putin’s adult daughters.
One major blow to Russia was a full European Union ban on Russian coal. This ban was announced on Thursday, April 7th, further separating Europe’s dependency on Russian natural resources for energy.