Ukrainian prosecutor office: 410 bodies recovered north of Kyiv
(Update 2: Alters lede and headline, adds Ukrainian prosecutor general office’s statement and UN secretary general’s reaction)
Kyiv, Apr 3 (EFE).- Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office on Sunday said that 410 civilian bodies have been recovered in the northern suburbs of Kyiv since the withdrawal of Russian troops.
“410 Bodies of murdered civilians have been removed so far from the territory of the Kyiv region,” public prosecutor Iryna Venediktova posted on Facebook. “Prosecutors and other specialists have so far examined 140 of them.”
Investigators are cooperating with the local population in search of witnesses, victims and graphic evidence such as photos or videos, she added.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “hundreds” of civilians’ bodies had been found in Bucha and Kyiv’s northern suburbs.
Kuleba added that he has asked the International Criminal Court to send an investigative mission to document and prosecute the alleged atrocities committed.
Local media reported the discovery of mass graves and streets strewn with civilian bodies in towns like Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv.
A Human Rights Watch report said that apparent war crimes, including repeated rape and summary executions, had been carried out by Russian troops in the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv.
These reports triggered outcry from a number of quarters.
“I am deeply shocked by the images of civilians killed in Bucha, Ukraine,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted. “It is essential that an independent investigation leads to effective accountability.”
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, also took to Twitter, saying: “Appalled by reports of unspeakable horrors in areas from which Russia is withdrawing.”
“An independent investigation is urgently needed. Perpetrators of war crimes will be held accountable.”
Charles Michel, who presides over the European Council, said the EU was aiding in the collection of evidence to pursue charges in “international courts” and that further sanctions were “on their way.”
The bloc’s chief diplomat, Spain’s Josep Borrell, congratulated Ukraine for its recapture of almost all of the Kyiv region, from where Russian troops are withdrawing, but he reiterated the EU’s condemnation of the alleged war crimes committed by Moscow’s forces.
Russia denied its troops had killed civilians in Bucha, adding that all the photos and videos published by the Ukrainian government were a “provocation.”
“The Russian Ministry of Defense refutes the accusations of the Kyiv regime on the alleged murder of civilians in the town of Bucha, Kyiv region,” the ministry said on its Telegram account.
“All the photos and all the videos published by the Kyiv regime, which allegedly testify to some kind of ‘crime’ by Russian military personnel in the city of Bucha, are another provocation,” it added.