Putin’s Crimes – Outrage and Division as Russian Troops Massacred Civilians Near Kyiv

Russian: Russian President Vladimir Putin during a joint press conference with President of Moldova Igor Dodon / Kremlin.ru

As Russian forces were pushed out of the northern suburbs of Kyiv, Ukrainian troops uncovered hundreds of dead civilians, some shot at close range, others apparently executed with their hands tied behind their backs. So far, Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in towns around the capital.

In some cases western journalists were on the scene.

In Bucha, northwest of the capital, AP journalists saw 21 bodies, including a group of nine in civilian clothes who appeared to have been shot at close range. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs.

In Motyzhyn, to the west of Kyiv, AP journalists 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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who left the capital for the first time since the war began, visiting Bucha on Monday to meet with residents, denounced the killings as “genocide” and “war crimes.”

“Dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured,” said Zelenskyy, who again called on Russia to move quickly to negotiate an agreement to end to the war.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the gruesome scenes outside Kyiv as a “stage-managed anti-Russian provocation.” The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected allegations of atrocities as Ukrainian disinformation, reported AP.

However, most of the Russian efforts to prove this claim have been debunked. And European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “the Russian authorities are responsible for these atrocities, committed while they had effective control of the area.”

ABC News noted that “The images of battered bodies out in the open or in hastily dug graves also led to calls for tougher economic sanctions against the Kremlin, namely a cutoff of fuel imports from Russia.”

But European reactions showed the divisions in their proposed responses, AP reports:

French President Emmanuel Macron said there is “clear evidence of war crimes” in Bucha that demand new measures. “I’m in favor of a new round of sanctions and in particular on coal and gasoline. We need to act,” he said on France-Inter radio.

But Poland’s prime minister, who described Russia under Putin as a “totalitarian-fascist state,” called for actions “that will finally break Putin’s war machine.”

“President Macron, how many times have you negotiated with Putin? What have you achieved? … Would you negotiate with Hitler, with Stalin, with Pol Pot?” Mateusz Morawiecki asked. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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