'Brutality Against Civilians' Europe Hasn't Seen in Decades

International outrage grows as mass graves found around Kyiv region
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2022 12:00 PM CDT
Evidence of Mass Killing of Civilians Mounts
This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of Bucha, Ukraine, with the church of St. Andrew at center and the site of a probable mass grave just above that.   (Satellite image ?2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)

President Biden calls it a "war crime," while Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky uses the term "genocide." Both are referring to reports and images emerging from areas around Kyiv after Russian soldiers pulled back. Ukraine authorities say they have so far counted the bodies of more than 400 civilians in towns near the capital, particularly Bucha, reports the AP: "The images of battered corpses lying in the streets or hastily dug graves unleashed a wave of outrage that could signal a turning point in the nearly 6-week-old war," the outlet adds. Coverage:

  • The scene: In the New York Times, Carlotta Gall and Andrew E. Kramer interview people in Bucha who recount stories of citizens being killed indiscriminately. "They shot everyone they saw," says one woman, Svitlana Munich, whose friend was shot outside her home. The coroner in Bucha, Serhiy Kaplishny, shows images of men who were killed with their hands bound behind their backs. Kaplishny says he arranged to have a mass grave dug near a church to accommodate all the bodies, which may or may not be the purported mass grave seen in this satellite photo via Reuters.
  • Mayor, family: The BBC reports that in the village of Motyzhyn, the bodies of four people who had been shot were found in a shallow grave. Among them were the head of the village, Olha Sukhenko—the mayor, essentially—her husband, and her son. "Our reporters have also seen the bodies of five men in a basement in Bucha who had their hands bound," per the outlet. Such accounts are repeated again and again in coverage.
  • Similar tale: Human Rights Watch said in a statement it had “documented several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations against civilians in occupied areas of the Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions of Ukraine." Officials in Ukraine have asked representatives of the International Criminal Court to visit multiple mass graves in Bucha, per the Washington Post. NATO's secretary-general spoke of a “brutality against civilians we haven’t seen in Europe for decades." Russia adamantly denies its troops are responsible for any atrocities against civilians.
  • Harrowing images: Freelance photographer Heidi Levine, who is on assignment with the Washington Post, has a series of images from inside Bucha. Warning: Some include graphic content.
(Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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