Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday described as “genocide” the killings of civilians in the town of Bucha outside the capital Kyiv reclaimed from Russian forces.
“These are war crimes and it will be recognised by the world as genocide,” Zelensky said during a visit to Bucha, where bodies were discovered strewn throughout the town after it was reclaimed by Kyiv’s army.
“You stand here today and see what happened. We know that thousands of people have been killed and tortured with extremities cut off, women raped, children killed,” he told reporters wearing a bullet-proof vest and accompanied by military personnel.
“It’s genocide,” he added.
Ukraine and Western nations have accused Russian troops of war crimes after the discovery of mass graves and apparently executed civilians at Bucha, prompting vows of action at the International Criminal Court.
Russia’s defence ministry denied its troops had killed civilians in the town recently retaken by Ukrainian soldiers.
Britain, France, Germany, the United States and NATO all voiced horror at the images from Bucha, where some of the bodies lying in public appeared to have been bound by their hands and feet before being shot.