Ukraine’s president, Volodimir Zelensky tried to hold back tears as he visited the town of Bucha, to see mass burial graves in Bucha after 400 civilians were reportedly killed by Russian soldiers.
In Bucha, Vladimir Putin’s troops have been accused of butchering civilians and burying them in mass graves.
Zelensky, who was visibly emotional, was flanked by tight secret service personnel and Soldiers as he vowed to ensure that the “war crimes” committed by Russian soldiers on his country’s soil were “the last such evil on Earth”.
On Monday, April 4, photos from Bucha, which is located north-west of the capital Kyiv, showed the bodies of civilians scattered in the road and in shallow graves many with bound hands and signs of torture.
Ukrainian and Western leaders have accused Russia of carrying out the massacre of civilians and dumping their bodies in makeshift burial plots.
Some of the victims, from the wounds they had suffered, had been shot from close range.
But Russia claims the massacre never happened and photos were staged for Western media.
But, a satellite image taken of Bucha at the end of March, when Russian forces were in control of the city, shows a 45ft long mass grave dug behind a church.
Another review of videos and satellite imagery by The New York Times suggests many of the civilians were killed more than three weeks ago, when Russia’s military was in control of the town.
Zelensky, who toured the area of devastation with a security team said: “Indeed, this is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people.
“We are the citizens of Ukraine. We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities.”
He stressed that “every crime of the occupiers on the territory of our state” would be investigated.
He added: “Everyone guilty of such crimes will be entered in a special Book of Executioners… [they] will be found and punished.
“The world has seen many war crimes. The time has come to make the war crimes committed by Russian troops the last such evil on Earth.”
He added: “It’s very difficult to talk when you see what they’ve done here.
“The longer the Russian Federation drags out the meeting process, the worse it is for them and for this situation and for this war.
“We know of thousands of people killed and tortured, with severed limbs, raped women and murdered children.”
He said that in Bucha, and surrounding regions, “dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured”.
Despite the devastating human suffering in Bucha, residents were helping to make sure homeless animals were fed.
Zelensky said: “That’s a characteristic trait of our people, I think — treat animals the way you would treat humans.
“But you can see what was done to this modern town. That’s a characteristic of Russian soldiers — treat people worse than animals.
“That is real genocide, what you have seen here today.”
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Video – AP pic.twitter.com/qcZZXgqwTq
— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) April 5, 2022