Russia claims the Bucha civilian massacre was faked as a “provocation” as outrage mounts over atrocities in the war in Ukraine

Dnipro, Ukraine — Russian troops have withdrawn from the area Ukraine‘s capital Kyiv, but there was no celebration in the country. What they left behind is hard to comprehend and even harder to see. CBS News warns our readers that both the above video report and the following article contain disturbing material.

Independent journalists who headed to the city of Bucha, northwest of the capital, over the weekend found the streets strewn with corpses. The dead wore civilian clothes and some had their hands tied behind their backs, apparently executed.

Others were buried in a mass grave. According to the city’s mayor, more than 300 residents were killed.

TOPSHOT UKRAINE-RUSSIA CONFLICT
A man points to a mass grave in the city of Bucha, northwest of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, April 3, 2022.

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty


In the central Ukrainian village of Kalynivka, which is closer to southern and eastern Ukrainian cities, Russia has been pounding artillery and airstrikes for weeks, Irina Kostenko said the Russians killed her only son Oleksei.

She said she brought her son’s body home in a wheelbarrow and then buried it alone in the garden, wrapped in a rug, in a shallow grave.

He was killed when he was 27, but Kostenko clung to a photograph of him as a child as she stood at his grave.

“This is my love, sweetheart,” she said.

CBS News senior foreign correspondent Holly Williams reports that Ukrainian officials shared photos taken on a highway outside the capital over the weekend showing the naked bodies of at least four women. Officials said Russian troops attempted to burn the women’s bodies.

Human Rights Watch and other groups have documented allegations of rape by Russian troops during the invasion that Vladimir Putin launched on February 24. Ukrainian officials are investigating.


Zelenskyy calls Russian attack on Ukraine a “genocide” on Face the Nation

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Speaking Sunday on CBS’ “Face the nation‘ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of committing genocide in his country.

“We are being destroyed and exterminated,” he said, “and that’s happening in 21st-century Europe.”

The south-eastern port city of Mariupol has been besieged and bombarded by the Russians for almost 40 days since the beginning of the war. Thousands have died there alone, according to the United Nations, but it’s impossible to get an accurate picture because Mariupol is cut off from the outside world.

Ilona, ​​17, and her brother Milan, 10, made it out of town with their parents on Friday. CBS News found her sitting silently in an evacuation center, apparently in shock.

“There were constant bombings, constant explosions,” said Ilona Williams. There were times when they thought they were going to die in their town, but she said she tried to “keep us together — we tried not to panic” during the ordeal.


Refugee women share the horrors they faced as they were stranded in Mariupol in the midst of the war: ‘We carried corpses’

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said almost two weeks ago that the US had found that Russian forces had done it “War Crimes” Committed in Ukraine and accused them of “indiscriminate attacks and targeted attacks on civilians”.

On Sunday, he told CNN the images of Bucha were “a punch in the gut,” and he said the US was “working to document” and make its own information “available to the relevant institutions and organizations that are responsible for all of this.” will be merged”. to ensure that all armed forces guilty of war crimes would be held accountable.

“We can’t normalize this,” he said. “This is the reality of what is happening every single day as long as Russia’s brutality against Ukraine continues. So it must end.”

On Monday, Russian officials denied that civilians were killed in Bucha. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed the gruesome scenes in Bucha were faked by Ukrainian forces as a “provocation”. It has become a common refrain from Moscow, issued after previous alleged atrocities in that war came to light and during Russia’s long involvement in Syria’s brutal civil war.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday dismissed reports of a “mock attack” in Bucha, saying Russia “calls for an urgent Security Council meeting on this specific issue because we view such provocations as a direct threat to world peace and security.” ”

As Williams reported, the Russian soldiers accused of massacring unarmed civilians in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine will likely never be brought to justice.

Bodies of civilians lie on the street in Bucha amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The body of a man with his hands tied behind his back, who local residents say was shot dead by Russian soldiers, lies on the street amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Bucha, Ukraine, April 3, 2022.

ZOHRA BENSEMRA/REUTERS


But despite the horrific images and the killing of thousands of his own soldiers on the battlefield, a new poll in Russia found Putin’s approval rating has risen to 83% since the invasion began.

While thousands have been arrested for protest Against the Ukraine war in Russian cities over the past month, many Russians rely solely on the country’s state news agencies for their information. These sockets present only the version of the Kremlin of what Putin calls the “military special operation” and no Russian media are free to report the truth about what is happening in Ukraine.


How Russia is cracking down on anti-war protests

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