Ukraine on Sunday accused the Russian army of carrying out a “deliberate massacre” in Boutcha, a town northwest of kyiv, as well as other “horrors” in the regions now “liberated from the invader”. , which sparked outrage in Europe and calls for additional sanctions against Moscow.
The President of the European Council, Berlin and London were the first to denounce the “atrocities” and even the “war crimes” committed in particular in Boutcha, where AFP had seen corpses in a street on Saturday and where nearly 300 people were buried in mass graves, according to Ukrainian authorities. NATO denounces “horrible” and “absolutely unacceptable” acts against civilians
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“We found mass graves. We found people with their hands and legs tied […] and with gunshots, bullet holes, in the back of the head”, described for the BBC the spokesman for the Ukrainian president, Serguiï Nikiforovil, affirming that it was “clearly civilians”.
Call for new sanctions
“The Boutcha massacre was deliberate. The Russians want to eliminate as many Ukrainians as they can. We have to stop them and put them out. I demand devastating new G7 sanctions NOW,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter, calling for a total energy embargo, the closure of ports to any Russian ships or goods and the disconnection of all Russian banks of the international financial platform. Her British counterpart Liz Truss said she was “horrified by the atrocities in Boutcha and other towns” and called for a “war crimes investigation”.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, also said he was “shocked by the haunting images of atrocities committed by the Russian army in the liberated region of kyiv”, on Twitter. “The EU is helping Ukraine and NGOs to gather the necessary evidence for prosecution in international courts,” he said, adding: “More EU sanctions and help are on the way. “.
“This terrible war crime cannot go unanswered,” said Vice-Chancellor and German Economy Minister Robert Habeckau. “I think that a reinforcement of the sanctions is indicated. This is what we are preparing with our EU partners”. France also condemned the acts committed by the Russian army. “We will work, together with our partners, the Ukrainian authorities and the competent international jurisdictions, in particular the International Criminal Court, to ensure that these acts do not go unpunished and that those responsible are tried and sentenced”, indicated the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podoliak nevertheless accused the West of trying “not to provoke the Russians” to avoid World War III, comparing the Boutcha massacre to Srebrenica, where thousands of Bosnians were killed during war in 1995 by units of the Bosnian Serb Republic army.
The world is witnessing “a total and indescribable horror of anti-humanity in Boutcha, Irpin, Gostomel”, he wrote on Telegram messaging, evoking “thousands” of victims, “killed”, sometimes with “atrocity”, “raped”.
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“The very cool and omniscient ‘leaders of Europe’ yesterday and today, the hundreds of current European politicians, eating well and sleeping peacefully in their beds now, won’t you take a close look at this archive pictures of hell-XXI, organized by Russians in the kyiv region? You wanted the Srebrenica of the 21st century? … Satisfied? … Will you try to turn away again? Arrange another summit to worry and shake your head?” he wrote.
Butcha and the nearby town of Irpin, rendered unrecognizable by shelling, have been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, when Russian soldiers were trying to surround kyiv.
The Russians withdrew from Irpin, Boutcha, Gostomel and the entire kyiv region as well as from Cherniguiv, in the north of the country, to redeploy towards the east and the south and “keep control” of the territories that they occupy it. But they leave behind “a total disaster and many dangers”, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who accuses them of “undermining the territories they leave, houses, ammunition and even corpses”.
In a statement on Sunday, the human rights organization Human Rights Watch also denounced abuses by Russian soldiers against civilians amounting to “war crimes” in the regions of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and kyiv, saying it had documented several cases. of “violations of the laws of war” (rape, summary executions, violence, threats, looting)
Discussions in Moscow
While the war has caused at least thousands of deaths and forced into exile nearly 4.2 million Ukrainians, 90% of them women and children, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Briton Martin Griffiths will be in Moscow on Sunday, before traveling to kyiv, mandated to seek a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine. Until now, Russia has refused any visit by a senior UN official whose main subject is Ukraine.
Its chief negotiator in the peace talks with Ukraine, Vladimir Medinski, on Sunday praised a “more realistic” position of kyiv ready, under conditions, to accept a neutral and denuclearized status of the country, demanded by Moscow.
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But he said he did not “share the optimism” of Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia. The latter had hinted on Saturday that the discussions aimed at ending the hostilities had made considerable progress. “The Ukrainian diplomatic and military ‘experts’ are slow to confirm even the agreements already reached at the political level,” said Vladimir Medinsky.
Strikes in Odessa
Still on the diplomatic front, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias arrived in Odessa, in southwestern Ukraine, on Sunday, his ministry announced on Sunday shortly after this major Ukrainian port on the Black Sea was attack.
Early Sunday morning, half a dozen explosions shook the walls of the historic city, so far spared from the fighting, according to AFP journalists and residents. Then a cloud of black smoke blocked part of the horizon.
These strikes did not cause casualties according to the regional command of the Ukrainian army. The Russian Defense Ministry said that “high-precision missile fire from the sea and land” had destroyed “a refinery and three fuel and lubricant depots” near this city.