Ukraine's Zelenskyy visits Bucha massacre site: 'War crimes' must be recognized by the world as 'genocide'

Russian forces’ Bucha massacre shocks the world: Eric Shawn

Fox News contributor Dan Hoffman says Vladimir Putin’s inner circle needs to conclude that Putin’s war has backfired against Russia.

Appearing somber and at times visibly emotional, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid a visit to the town of Bucha outside of the capital of Kyiv Monday after disturbing images surfaced showing the bodies of civilians tortured and killed as Russian troops pulled back in recent days. 

“First of all, it’s very important to us that the press is here and there are journalists,” Zelenskyy told reporters in Bucha on Monday. “We want you to show the world what was happening here, what the Russian military was doing, what the Russian regime was doing.” 

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova said Sunday that the bodies of 410 civilians have been retrieved from Bucha, the neighboring towns of Irpin and Hostomel and smaller villages around Kyiv.

“What has been done to this modern town is a characteristic of the Russian military which treated humans worse than animals,” Zelenskyy told reporters, according to an English translation shared by Ukrainian state-run TV. “These are war crimes and need to be recognized by the world as genocide.”

Shortly after Zelenskyy visit to Bucha, President Biden called for a war crimes trial against Russia President Vladimir Putin and said he’d seek more sanctions after reported atrocities in Ukraine. But, speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., he stopped short of categorizing the actions as genocide. 

“You saw what happened in Bucha,” Biden said, describing Putin as both “brutal” and a “war criminal.” “What’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone sees it.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s chief envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced Monday that the U.S. plans to seek a suspension of Russia from its seat on the U.N.’s top human rights body in the wake of more indications Russian forces may have committed war crimes in Ukraine. That would require a decision by the U.N. General Assembly.

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    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center left, examines the site of a recent battle in Bucha, close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Apr. 4, 2022. Russia is facing a fresh wave of condemnation after evidence emerged of what appeared to be deliberate killings of civilians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) ( )

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    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy examines the site of a recent battle in Bucha, close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Apr. 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy examines the site of a recent battle in Bucha close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Apr. 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The local government officials in many areas occupied by the Russian forces have been abducted and killed, Zelenksyy told reporters, saying that thankfully, he was accompanied by Bucha’s local government on Monday. Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk estimated to The Washington Post that about 270 civilians had been buried in mass graves in his town, while another some 40 were lying dead in streets, some with their hands bound and showing signs of torture. Associated Press journalists said they saw the bodies of at least 21 people in various spots around Bucha, northwest of the capital.

In Motyzhyn, to the west of Kyiv, AP journalists also said they saw the bodies of four people who appeared to have been shot at close range and thrown into a pit. Residents said the mayor, her son and her husband — who had been bound and blindfolded — were among them.

“The longer the Russian Federation delays the meeting the process, the worse it will be for them,” Zelenskyy said Monday. “Because everyday when our troops reenter and de-occupy certain territories, you see what’s happening. It’s very difficult to talk when you see what they’ve done here and everyday you understand there are people in barrels, in cellars, strangled and simply tortured.” 

Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko tweeted that among the victims found dead in Bucha were 10-year-old girls found with vaginal and rectal tears and women with swastika shaped burns on their bodies. 

“Russian Men did this,” she wrote. “And Russian mothers raised them. A nation of immoral criminals.” 

According to The Kyiv Independent, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate published a list of Russian military serving in the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade which occupied Bucha until March 31. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, tweeted Monday that the European Union will send investigators to Ukraine to help the local prosecutor general “document war crimes.” Biden noted that he faced push back last month when he described Putin as a war criminal for the unfolding onslaught in Ukraine after hospitals and maternity wards were bombed.

“It is about life and people being killed, tortured – all of these stories of ‘let’s wait until there’s a trial, which will be very slow, we will press on publicly as much as we can,” Zelenskyy said Monday. “We will not make any pause to find all the criminals and from that, it will basically help civilization.” 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the scenes outside Kyiv as a “stage-managed anti-Russian provocation.” The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected allegations of atrocities as fakery on Ukraine’s part.

Lavrov said the mayor of Bucha made no mention of atrocities a day after Russian troops left last week, but two days later scores of bodies were photographed scattered in the streets.

Investigations into Putin’s actions had begun before the new allegations of atrocities outside Kyiv.

The U.S. and more than 40 other countries are working together to investigate possible violations and abuses, after the passage of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry. There is another probe by the International Criminal Court, an independent body based in the Netherlands.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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