Sunday, May 26, 2024

Over 400 Dead Civilians Found Near Kyiv As Russia Retreats, Ukraine Says

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Topline
Ukrainian officials have found the bodies of 410 dead civilians in the Kyiv region in recent days, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said Sunday, after Russian forces were accused of deliberately killing scores of Ukrainians while withdrawing from the capital region.

Soldiers walk amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, … [+] April 3, 2022.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Key Facts

The bodies were found outside Kyiv on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Venediktova said in a Facebook post translated by the Associated Press.

Venediktova called the deaths “hell that needs to be documented to punish the inhumans who set it up on our earth,” and said Ukraine will seek to hold Russia accountable, according to the Washington Post.

Investigators are working with residents of towns near Kyiv that were recently retaken by Ukrainian forces to verify the alleged crimes, she said, with forensic experts attempting to uncover bodies while avoiding undetonated explosives left in the area.

The mayor of Motyzhyn, a village in the Kyiv area, was killed while being held by Russian forces, Venediktova said, adding that 11 mayors and community leaders are still being held captive across the country.

What We Don’t Know
The casualty counts released by Venediktova have not been independently verified.

Crucial Quote
“People are scared, tired and tortured, as they have experienced unspeakable horror,” Venediktova said, according to the Post.

Key Background
The casualty count was released a day after Ukraine first accused Russian forces of executing hundreds of civilians in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, while retreating from the region—accusations the Russian Ministry of Defense denied Sunday. As graphic images of dead bodies in Bucha circulated Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia’s actions during the war a “genocide” in an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation: “This is the torture of the whole nation,” he said.

Tangent
Ukrainian troops had completely reclaimed the Kyiv region by Saturday, the country’s deputy defense minister said, though Russia has claimed its recent withdrawals from the area were voluntary. Russia has indicated in recent days it plans to remove forces from Kyiv and northern Ukraine and focus on the country’s east.

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