Ukraine-Russia War Live News: Latest Updates
In his overnight video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 300 people were tortured and killed in Bucha, a suburb of the capital kyiv, adding that the list of victims is likely to grow.
Mr Zelensky said the Ukrainian government had opened an investigation into what Russian forces had done during their occupation of Bucha. He visited Bucha on Monday as well as other towns near kyiv, including Stoyanka and Irpin, which had been the scene of intense fighting for several days.
“The bodies of those killed – Ukrainians killed – have already been removed from most of the streets, but in the yards, in the houses, the dead are still there,” Zelensky said in a translation of his remarks shared by his office. “Cities are simply in ruins.”
Images of dead civilians in Bucha have sparked widespread outrage from world leaders, including the European Union, which is weighing tougher sanctions on Russia.
In his remarks, Mr. Zelensky said that any sanctions against Russia “must finally be powerful”.
“But did we really have to wait for that to cast off doubts and indecision? Mr. Zelensky asked. “Did hundreds of our fellow citizens really have to die of pain for some European leaders to finally understand that the Russian state deserves the most severe pressure?”
Mr Zelensky argued in separate remarks to the Romanian parliament on Sunday that the atrocities in Bucha were made possible in part by Russia’s belief that European leadership would be weak.
He cited an editorial published the same day by RIA Novosti, the Russian state news agency, which detailed precisely how the “denazification” of Ukraine was to be carried out and claimed that almost all Ukrainians were Nazis deserving of the dead.
“I want you to understand me: they’re not even hiding,” Zelensky said, calling for editorial evidence for future Russian war crimes tribunals.
Mr Zelensky said in his evening speech that the government wanted to provide journalists with “maximum access” to Bucha and other liberated regions of Ukraine.
“We are interested in having thousands of journalists there – as many as possible – so the world can see what Russia has done,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky said reports indicate the death toll could be even higher in other towns that have been taken over by Ukraine, such as Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv.
“In many villages in the liberated districts of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, the occupiers did things that residents had not seen even during the Nazi occupation 80 years ago,” he said. .
In towns back under Ukrainian control, Zelensky said the government had begun preparing to “restore normal life” by clearing areas and neutralizing explosive devices, and that eventually electricity and water would be restored throughout the country.
“We will rebuild roads, bridges, infrastructure,” he said. “Life will return to every city, to every community that the occupiers tried to destroy.”