Russia-Ukraine war latest: Russian actions ‘look exactly like war crimes’, says Ukraine; explosions seen in Odesa – live | Ukraine

 Russia-Ukraine war latest: Russian actions ‘look exactly like war crimes’, says Ukraine; explosions seen in Odesa – live | Ukraine


04:53

Russian actions in Ukraine ‘look exactly like war crimes’

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokesman has said authorities in Ukraine have found what “looks exactly like war crimes”, including the bodies of executed civilians and mass graves, as Russians retreated from war-torn areas of the country.

Sergey Nikiforov told the BBC’s Sunday Morning show the scenes that have been discovered in de-occupied territories such as Bucha are “really hard to describe”.

He said:

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.

They were clearly civilians and they were executed.

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 that Ukrainian troops have begun clearing the areas and they appear to be free of Russian soldiers.

A destroyed car seen on a highway 20km from Kyiv. Almost 300 civilians have been killed along the road in between Zhytomyr and Kyiv near Bucha as most victims tried to cross the Buchanka river to reach the Ukrainian controlled territory and had been killed.
A destroyed car on a highway 20km from Kyiv. Almost 300 civilians have been killed along the road between Zhytomyr and Kyiv near Bucha as most victims tried to cross the Buchanka River to reach the Ukrainian-controlled territory. Photograph: Mykhaylo Palinchak/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

Asked whether the scenes appear to amount to war crimes, Nikiforov said:

It looks, I have to be careful with my wording, but it looks exactly like war crimes.

11:56

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has declared that the UK will “not rest” until those responsible for atrocities in Ukraine have faced justice.

Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss arrives in Downing Street in central Londo
Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss arrives in Downing Street in central London. Photograph: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Russia, she said, will not be allowed to cover up its involvement in “appalling acts” carried out on innocent civilians with “cynical disinformation”.

In a statement on Sunday following attacks in the towns of Irpin and Bucha, Truss said:

As Russian troops are forced into retreat, we are seeing increasing evidence of appalling acts by the invading forces in towns such as Irpin and Bucha. Their indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians during Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes. We will not allow Russia to cover up their involvement in these atrocities through cynical disinformation and will ensure that the reality of Russia’s actions are brought to light.”

11:21

Richard Luscombe

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been speaking on the US political talkshow Face the Nation, accusing Russia of trying to wipe out Ukraine and its people, and calling for the Russian president Vladimir Putin and his military commanders to be held accountable for atrocities allegedly committed by withdrawing Russian troops.

“This is genocide, the elimination of the whole nation and the people,” the Ukraine president told the host of the CBS show, Margaret Brennan, speaking through an interpreter.

“We are the citizens of Ukraine, we have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities.”

The emerging images of Ukraine citizens lying dead in the streets, he said, were abhorrent.

“When we find people with hands tied behind their back and decapitated, such things I don’t understand. I don’t comprehend the kids who were killed and tortured. It wasn’t enough just to kill, for those criminals? Maybe they wanted to take gold, or washing machines as they were killing, but they were also torturing them as they did this.”

About holding the perpetrators accountable for war crimes, Zelenskiy added: “It wouldn’t be fair to take only [Putin]. All the military commanders, everyone who gave instructions and orders should be punished adequately.”

He would not say what he believed the punishment should be, but said: “Everything has to be fair and according to justice, as the civilised world will decide. We believe in justice, in the justice of the western world.”

Zelenskiy said he would be willing to meet Putin for dialogue only after a ceasefire in Ukraine.

“It’s difficult to say how, after all what has been done, we can have any kind of negotiations with Russia. That’s on the personal level. But as a president, I have to do it,” he said.

“There is no any other way but dialogue if we don’t want hundreds of thousands or millions to die [but] I can’t even have a meeting when the shelling is going on. So first, the ceasefire. Then we can have a meeting.”

11:01

Summary

The time in Kyiv is 6pm. Here is a round-up of today’s headlines:

  • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokesman has said authorities in Ukraine have found what “looks exactly like war crimes”, including the bodies of executed civilians and mass graves, as Russians retreated from war-torn areas of the country.
  • Growing evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine are “a punch to the gut”, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Sunday, promising that America would join its allies in documenting the atrocities to hold the perpetrators accountable.
  • European leaders have condemned the killings of unarmed civilians in Bucha and the surrounding areas of Kyiv, while vowing to impose further sanctions against Russia.
  • A leading rights group said on Sunday it had documented what it described as “apparent war crimes” committed by Russian military forces against civilians in Ukraine.
  • A senior official at the Ukrainian president’s office said on Sunday that a fifth package of sanctions should be imposed on Russia, targeting all its banks, closing ports to its ships and imposing an embargo on all trade.
  • Russian missiles struck “critical infrastructure”, most likely a fuel depot, near Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa in the early hours of Sunday but there were no casualties, officials in the city said.
  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a number of other authorities have accused Russian troops of leaving behind mines and other explosives in their retreat of the Kyiv region. In Irpin, crews have found 643 explosive objects.
  • Several Russian rockets have hit Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, Anton Gerashchenko, an aide to the country’s interior ministry, said on Sunday. Gerashchenko said in a social media post that local authorities had reported the attack.
  • Russia has specifically been accused by Ukraine’s attorney general of using children as “human shields” while regrouping its forces, as the first witness accounts from the newly liberated town of Bucha, north-west of Kyiv, emerge.
  • Zelenskiy repeated his warning that Russian troops want to capture the Donbas and the south of Ukraine. In his nightly video address, the Ukraine president said “we are aware that the enemy has reserves to increase pressure in the east” but complained that western allies had not sent enough anti-missile systems.
  • Missiles struck the southern port city of Odesa early on Sunday morning. “Critical infrastructure facilities” were hit, officials said.
  • Work on evacuating people with the help of the Red Cross from Mariupol was set to continue on Sunday with buses attempting to come close to the besieged city, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
  • Lithuanian film director Mantas Kvedaravicius was killed on Saturday in Mariupol, a Ukrainian city whose fate he had documented for many years, according to the Ukrainian defence ministry’s information agency and a colleague.

That’s it from me, Tom Ambrose, for today. My colleague Jenn Selby will be along shortly to continue bringing you all the latest news from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

10:54

Two Ukrainian officials allege that Russian troops have committed war crimes as they retreat from previously occupied areas such as Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin.

‘They were executed’: Ukrainian officials call Russian actions war crimes – video

10:43

Daniel Boffey

Daniel Boffey

It was, said Taras Schevchenko, like a scene from a film.

At 6am on the morning of 24 February, from the vantage point of the kitchen window of his fifth storey apartment overlooking Gostomel airport, on the northern outskirts of the Ukrainian town of Bucha, Schevchenko watched as around 20 Russian helicopters flew into vision, spilling paratroopers onto the tarmac below.

“I felt as if I was in the movies, you know, I saw all the helicopters, I even saw the faces of those paratroopers.”

This was the moment that the war began for Bucha, a town 35 miles north-west from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which is swiftly becoming synonymous with the worst atrocities of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The events that unfolded over the following days, Schevchenko, 43, said, were unimaginable.

10:31

Richard Luscombe

Growing evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine are “a punch to the gut”, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Sunday, promising that America would join its allies in documenting the atrocities to hold the perpetrators accountable.

A retreat of Russian forces around Kyiv has revealed evidence of atrocities against civilians as Ukrainian troops and journalists have moved back into a broad swathe of suburbs and towns around the capital.

“We can’t become numb to this. We can’t normalize this. This is the reality of what’s going on every single day as long as Russia’s brutality against Ukraine continues,” Blinken said on CNN’s State of the Union.

“You can’t help but see these images as a punch to the gut. We said before Russia’s aggression we thought it was likely that they would commit atrocities. Since the aggression we’ve come out and said we believe that Russian forces have committed war crimes, and we’ve been working to document that to provide the information that we have to relevant institutions and organizations that will put all of this together.

“There needs to be accountability for it,” he added.

10:11

Jennifer Rankin

Jennifer Rankin

European leaders have condemned the killings of unarmed civilians in Bucha and the surrounding areas of Kyiv, while vowing to impose further sanctions against Russia.

The head of the European Council, Charles Michel, said he was shocked by “haunting images of atrocities committed by [the] Russian army in liberated region of Kyiv”, adding that “further EU sanctions and support are on their way”.

Germany’s vice-chancellor, Robert Habeck, condemned the killings of civilians in the town of Bucha as a “terrible war crime [that] cannot go unanswered” and called for a strengthening of sanctions. The country’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said the images from Bucha were “unbearable”.

09:48

Germany’s foreign minister said on Sunday Russia must pay for its “war crimes” in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, just outside the capital, in the form of more severe sanctions, denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “uninhibited violence”.

The mayor of Bucha said on Saturday that 300 residents had been killed during a month-long occupation by the Russian army. Victims were seen by Reuters in a mass grave and still lying on the streets.

“The images from Bucha are unbearable, Putin’s uninhibited violence is extinguishing innocent families and knows no boundaries,” Baerbock wrote on Twitter.

“Those responsible for these war crimes must be made accountable. We will tighten the sanctions against Russia and will assist Ukraine even more in defending itself.”

The Russian defence ministry in Moscow did not immediately reply to a request for comment when asked on Sunday about bodies found in Bucha, Reuters reported.

09:09

A senior official at the Ukrainian president’s office said on Sunday that a fifth package of sanctions should be imposed on Russia, targeting all its banks, closing ports to its ships and imposing an embargo on all trade.

Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of Ukraine’s president’s office, said in comments broadcast on television that the sanctions should be imposed over what Ukraine says were atrocities carried out by Russia in the town of Bucha near Kyiv.

Russia has so far not commented publicly on the allegations. Moscow has previously denied Ukrainian allegations that it has targeted civilians or carried out possible war crimes, Reuters reported.

08:49

The Kremlin said on Sunday it is not possible to completely isolate Russia as the west continues piling sanctions on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine, AFP reports.

“There can be no complete vacuum or isolation of Russia, it is technologically impossible in the modern world,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Russian state TV.

The world is “much larger than Europe”, he said, adding: “Sooner or later we will have to build a dialogue, whether some overseas want it or not.”

Western capitals hit Russia with unprecedented economic sanctions after Moscow moved troops into Ukraine on 24 February. There are also travel bans and asset freezes on a number of government figures, including President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking about the possibility of Putin meeting Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Peskov said it would be “hypothetically possible” but would require a written document agreed by both sides at peace negotiations with Kyiv, AFP reported.

For the meeting to take place, Peskov said the delegations must produce a “specific document”.

“Not a set of ideas, but a specific written document,” he added.

08:44

Germany on Sunday condemned the killings of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha as a “terrible war crime” and called for fresh EU sanctions against Russia, AFP reports.

“This terrible war crime cannot go unanswered,” Robert Habeck, the country’s vice- chancellor and economy minister, told German newspaper Bild the day after the bodies of nearly 300 civilians were found in mass graves after Russian troops withdrew, according to local Ukrainian officials.

“I think that a strengthening of sanctions is called for. That’s what we are preparing with our EU partners,” Habeck added.

The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said the images from Bucha were “unbearable”.



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