Thursday, February 2

Zelenskyy accuses Russia of war crimes

UN human rights chief ‘horrified’ by Bucha images

The United Nations human rights chief has said she is “horrified” by images purported to show the bodies of dead civilians that Ukrainian officials say were slain by Russian forces in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv.

“Reports emerging from this and other areas raise serious and disturbing questions about possible war crimes as well as serious breaches of international humanitarian law and serious violations of international human rights law,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Monday.

The UN human rights chief said it was essential that all bodies be exhumed and identified so victims’ families can be informed and so the exact cause of death can be established.

She further said it is “vital that all efforts are made to ensure there are independent and effective investigations into what happened in Bucha to ensure truth, justice and accountability, as well as reparations and remedy for victims and their families.”

Russia has denied Ukraine’s claims that hundreds of civilians were killed in Bucha by its forces.

Russia’s chief investigator orders inquiry into Ukraine’s Bucha claims

Russia’s chief investigator ordered an official probe into Ukraine’s accusations of Russian forces killing hundreds of civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv.

In a statement Monday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was looking into Ukraine’s claims, as well as images shared by Ukrainian officials that it said aimed to “discredit the Russian military personnel.”

Russia has rejected the claim that its forces killed civilians in Bucha, despite photos and video appearing to show dead bodies on city streets as its troops pulled out of Bucha and other cities near Kyiv. It has branded Ukraine’s claims to “provocation.” NBC News has not been able to independently verify the photos.

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Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations said in a tweet Sunday that Russia would also be requesting a meeting of the UN’s security council over what he called a “heinous provocation.”

British foreign secretary to visit Poland, call for tougher sanctions on Russia

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will visit Poland on Monday to call for tougher sanctions on Russia, her office said, as major western countries work together to ramp up the pressure on President Vladimir Putin and end the conflict in Ukraine.

“Putin is yet to show he is serious about diplomacy. A tough approach from the UK and our allies is vital to strengthen Ukraine’s hand in negotiations,” Truss said.

“Britain has helped lead the way with sanctions to cripple the Putin war machine. We will do more to ramp up the pressure on Russia and we will keep pushing others to do more.”

Truss is due to meet Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba in Poland’s capital Warsaw later today and her Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau on Tuesday.

Britain, a former European Union member, has coordinated with international allies to impose sanctions on key Russian industries and Moscow’s wealthy elites with the aim of crippling its economy in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy says new sanctions not ‘enough’ after accusing Russia of atrocities in Bucha

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the international community to take stronger action to pressure Russia to end its invasion after gray images purported to show slain civilians emerged out of the town of Bucha, near Kyiv.

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In a Sunday address, Zelenskyy said fresh sanctions from the West would not be “enough” to respond to the atrocities Ukrainians say have been committed in Bucha.

“There will definitely be a new sanctions package against Russia,” he said. “But I’m sure that’s not enough. We need more conclusions. Not only about Russia, but also about the political behavior that actually allowed this evil to come to our land.”

Russia has denied Ukraine’s accusations that its forces left hundreds dead in Bucha. It has rejected all claims of targeting civilians in Ukraine since it launched its invasion in late February.

Newlyweds Nastya Gracheva and Anton Sokolov kiss in a ruined shopping complex in central Kharkiv on April 3, 2022.Sergey Bobok / AFP – Getty Images

Russia denies Bucha massacre, claims photos are ‘staged’

The Kremlin has doubled down on its rejection of accusations from Ukraine that Russian forces killed hundreds of civilians in the city of Bucha, near Kyiv.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia “categorically” rejects “any accusations” and said Ukraine’s claims “must be seriously questioned,” Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called photos purported to show the dead bodies of civilians on Bucha’s streets “staged.”

Russia has consistently denied targeting civilians since it launched its invasion of Ukraine. It was unclear how the development could impact peace talks between the two countries.

Hungary’s hard-line leader declares victory in election as war rages in neighboring Ukraine

Viktor Orbán claimed victory in Hungary’s general election on Sunday, as his Fidesz party appears on track to deliver the prime minister a fourth consecutive term amid a raging war in neighboring Ukraine.

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A victory would allow Orbán to continue to be a thorn in the European Union and NATO alliances during a time of international crisis, as he attempts to balance Hungary’s Western partnerships with his close personal and economic relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read the full story here.

Humanitarian corridor expected to open in Mariupol

A humanitarian corridor from the besieged port city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia is expected to be open on Monday, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.

In a video address shared on Telegram Monday, Vereshchuk said the corridor would be designated for private vehicles. She said 15 buses destined for Mariupol had already left Zaporizhzhia as well.

Meanwhile evacuation efforts continue in the Luhansk region, she said, including from the cities of Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Nyzhne and Rubizhne.

Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre; city ​​strewn with bodies

BUCHA, Ukraine — Bodies with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture lay scattered in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian soldiers withdrew from the area. Ukrainian authorities on Sunday accused the departing forces of committing war crimes and leaving behind a “scene from a horror movie.”

As images of the bodies — of people whom residents said were killed indiscriminately — began to emerge from Bucha, a slew of European leaders condemned the atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces.

Read the full story here.

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