As international outrage grows over evidence of possible executions and other atrocities by Russian forces in Ukraine, Germany’s defense minister says Europe should consider toughening sanctions against Moscow by boycotting its gas exports, a painful economic step that European leaders have previously avoided.
Following reports of deaths recovered with indications of torture in regions abandoned by Russian forces, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that “we firmly condemn assaults on civilians.” Reports of rape and other crimes by Russian soldiers have been described as “beyond abhorrent” by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged for singers and other artists to assist portray the tale of Russia’s invasion in a film presented before the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas. Zelenskyy replied, “Support us in every way you can.”
According to the regional prosecutor’s office, Russian bombardment of Kharkiv in the northeast, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killed at least seven people and injured 34 others, including three children. At least one person was killed and 14 others were injured in shelling in the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, according to regional governor Vitaliy Kim.
410 citizens’ remains were discovered in towns near Kyiv that were regained from Russian forces, according to Ukrainian officials.
Journalists from the Associated Press spotted 21 dead in Bucha, northwest of the city. Residents stated Russian military used the property as a base. One group of nine, all dressed in civilian clothes, was distributed about the place. They looked to have been fired from a short distance. At least two of them were bound behind their backs with their wrists tied behind their backs.
The executions were described by Zelenskyy as proof of genocide, but the Russian Defense Ministry dismissed the charge. It claimed that photographs and videos of dead victims “had been stage managed for the Western media by the Kyiv administration.”
A day after Russian forces withdrew, the ministry stated that “not a single civilian” in Bucha was subjected to aggressive military action, and the mayor made no mention of any violations.
Thousands of people have died as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion on February 24, and more than 4 million Ukrainians have fled their nation. After Ukraine’s leadership pursued membership in the US-European NATO military alliance, Putin has stated that the strike is intended at eliminating a security threat.
Moscow’s negotiators informally agreed to most of a draft plan discussed during negotiations in Istanbul, according to the chairman of Ukraine’s team in talks with Russia, but no written confirmation has been offered. Russian demands include declaring Ukraine neutral and withdrawing from military partnerships.
After Moscow said that it will focus its onslaught on the country’s east, where two regions are held by Russian-backed separatists, Russian soldiers retreated from several places near Kyiv. In the early days of the assault, Russian forces swept into Bucha and lasted until March 30.
According to German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, the accusations of crimes are serious enough that European leaders “would have to speak about cutting gas supplies from Russia.” “Such heinous atrocities must not go unpunished.”
Russia provides 40% of Europe’s gas and 25% of its oil, and such sales are the Kremlin’s primary source of export revenue.
Governments have been frantically trying to figure out how to minimize this dependency. Estimates of the economic impact of a gas boycott on European nations vary, but most predict a significant drop in output.
For its part, Russia is enjoying a temporary bonanza as world prices rise because to fears of supply interruptions.
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, has urged on countries to stop importing Russian gas. He said that they were sponsoring the assassinations.
Lithuania stated on Saturday that it has ceased importing Russian gas and asked other European nations to follow suit.
“If we can accomplish it, so can the rest of Europe!” On Twitter, President Gitana Nauseda referred to Russia as “the aggressor.”
War crimes, according to certain European politicians, were committed in the Kyiv region.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the events near Kyiv as “a hit to the stomach.” The US has already stated that it believes Russia is responsible for war crimes.
On the same broadcast, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg remarked, “This is a level of cruelty against civilians that we haven’t seen in Europe in decades.”
Russia has requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday to examine the events in the city. Russia has been accused by the United States and the United Kingdom of exploiting Security Council sessions to propagate misinformation.
Russian military proceeded building to building, taking people out of the basements where they were sheltering, according to a resident of Bucha who hesitated to give his name out of concern for his safety. Soldiers searched their phones for proof of anti-Russian activities, according to the resident, and either took them away or shot them.
News outlets also witnessed two remains, a man and a woman, wrapped in plastic and deposited in a shaft until a formal funeral could be arranged, according to locals.
“They shot him because he had his hands up,” stated a neighbor who did not want to be recognized.
According to Oleksiy Arestovych, a Zelenskyy advisor, some of the women were raped before being slain, and the bodies were subsequently burnt by the Russians.
The Ukrainian military said on Monday that its soldiers had retaken certain towns in the Chernihiv area and were delivering humanitarian supplies. According to the news outlet RBK Ukraina, the route between Chernihiv and Kyiv was to reopen to limited traffic later in the morning.
Chernihiv’s mayor warned that Russian bombardment had damaged 70% of the northern city, which has been cut off from food and other supplies for weeks.
Zelenskyy claimed Russian soldiers who killed and tortured people were guilty of “concentrated evil” in a video speech uploaded online Sunday.
In statements translated by his office, he stated, “It is time to do all necessary to make the Russian military’s war crimes the final manifestation of such evil on earth.”
Some of the president’s words were intended at the mothers of Russian servicemen.
“How did they also become butchers if you raised looters?” he said. “You couldn’t ignore the fact that they are devoid of any human rights.” There is no soul. There is no heart. They slaughtered on purpose and with glee.”
Residents in Motyzhyn, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Kyiv, claimed the Associated Press that Russian troops killed the town’s mayor, her husband, and her son and dumped their remains in a hole in a pine forest beside buildings where Russian servicemen had slept.
Journalists from the Associated Press witnessed four bodies within the hole that seemed to have been shot at close range. The mayor’s spouse had his wrists behind his back, a rope around his neck, and a piece of plastic wrapped around his eyes like a blindfold around his eyes.
Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, confirmed that the mayor was assassinated while being taken captive by Russian soldiers.