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Dead bodies pile up in Bucha as Ukraine demands new Russia sanctions over ‘massacre’

At least 57 people were found buried in a mass grave, a local official said Sunday as he showed AFP the slit trench where the bodies lay.

“Here in this long grave, 57 people are buried,” said Serhii Kaplychnyi, who identified himself as head of the rescue services in Bucha and who was organising the recovery of the bodies.

The mass grave is behind a church in the town’s centre. Some of the bodies were either unburied or partially buried in the earth.

Roughly 10 bodies were visible, either unburied or partially covered by the earth.

Some of the bodies were concealed in black zip-up body bags while others were in civilian clothing.

“We are still gathering and looking for bodies, but the number has already gone into the hundreds,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, according to his ministry.

“Dead bodies lie on the streets. They killed civilians while staying there and when they were leaving these villages and towns,” Kuleba said. 

Russia has so far not commented publicly on the allegations. Moscow has previously denied Ukrainian allegations that it has targeted civilians or carried out possible war crimes.

Kuleba called on the International Criminal Court to visit Bucha and other towns around Kyiv as soon as possible to gather evidence.

“I urge the International Criminal Court and international organisations to send their missions to Bucha and other liberated towns and villages of the Kyiv region, in cooperation with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, to thoroughly collect all evidence of Russian war crimes,” the ministry quoted him as saying.

“If I used to say that I will make every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice, now I am convinced that this is a matter of my life, which I will do until my last breath, until they are all held accountable,” he said. 

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Sunday called the images from Bucha “unbearable”.

“The images from Bucha are unbearable, Putin’s uninhibited violence is extinguishing innocent families and knows no boundaries,” Baerbock wrote on Twitter.

“Those responsible for these war crimes must be made accountable. We will tighten the sanctions against Russia and will assist Ukraine even more in defending itself.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the killings of civilians in Bucha were “horrific”.

“It is a brutality against civilians we haven’t seen in Europe for decades, and it’s horrific and it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Stoltenberg told CNN.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the images of large numbers of dead Ukrainians in Bucha were a “punch in the gut,” speaking in an interview on CNN on Sunday.

Source: CNA

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