Western leaders, including President Joe Biden, vow to investigate the alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops against Ukrainian citizens, which have sparked outrage and international condemnation.
Biden is calling for a war crime trial over mounting accounts of killings and rape of hundreds of civilians in Bucha and other towns that were formerly Russian-occupied around the capital city of Kyiv.
Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin must be held accountable for the actions of his troops.
“We have to get all the detail, so this can be an actual war-crime trial. This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone has seen it,” said Biden to reporters at the White House.
He added that the U.S. would be putting additional sanctions against Russia. The European Union and the U.S. said that they would assist Ukrainian authorities with collecting evidence and investigations.
French President Emmanuel Macron also called for more sanctions on Russian coal and oil, despite the pain it would inflict on the economies of Europe.
“It is very clear today that there are clear indications of war crimes,” said Macron. “It was more or less established that this is the Russian army.”
In Germany, the government said it would temporarily take control of a critical unit of gas giant Gazprom PJSC, a Russian state-owned company, in Germany in an attempt to secure gas deliveries.
Germany and France have said they are expelling numerous Russian diplomats. Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, said images of bodies on the streets of Bucha illustrated the brutality of Russia’s leadership.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently visited Bucha and described Russian forces as “rapists” and “murderers” and vowed to hold perpetrators accountable.
The Russian Defense Ministry has waved off reports of widespread killing of civilians in Bucha, referring to them as “another provocation” by the Ukrainians.
The ministry insisted that no civilians suffered from violence while Bucha was under Russian control.
According to Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office, more than 400 bodies of civilians have been removed from areas around Kyiv after the withdrawal of Russian troops. Human Rights Watch recently released a report that documented summary executions and rape instances.
Ukrainian police and soldiers say they are clearing Bucha of booby traps set by Russian soldiers.
According to reports, more than 100 civilians have been buried in mass graves by Bucha residents. Batches of black body bags covered the bodies previously laid in mass graves behind St. Andrew’s Church in Bucha.
“No people are being buried in mass graves anymore,” said deputy commander of Bucha’s territorial defense brigade, Andrei Verlaty.
“We still find a large number of them. Tortured. Raped women. We don’t have an exact number yet.” He also said authorities were still shipping newly recovered corpses to a morgue located out of town to collect DNA samples.
In a video address, Zelenskyy said, “Concentrated evil has come to our land.”