(Update 2: recasts with Zelenskyy remarks)
Kyiv, Apr 4 (EFE).- Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged foreign reporters Monday to “show the world” the atrocities that Russia is committing in Ukraine during a visit to the town of Bucha, where hundreds of civilians were allegedly executed by Russian forces.
“It is very important for us that the press is here, this is the most important thing,” Zelenskyy told reporters at the scene.
“We really want you to show the world what happened here, what the Russian forces have done, what the Russian Federation has done in peaceful Ukraine,” he added.
Funeral homes in Bucha, a city near the capital Kyiv that was retaken by Ukrainian forces after Russian troops had occupied it shortly after the start of the invasion in February, have located and buried some 340 bodies of civilians who appear to have been executed.
According to Ukrainian daily Pravda, between 330 and 340 bodies have been found, “but there are more”, adding that some were found with bullet wounds to the head and their hands tied behind their backs.
“We will make sure those responsible are punished. Every day we encounter cases like this, this is genocide,” Zelenskyy said.
Human Rights Watch said it had documented possible war crimes committed by the Russian military in occupied areas of Ukraine, including cases of repeated rape, summary executions and looting.
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Monday said the discoveries in Bucha and other areas of Ukraine that had been under Russian occupation raised “serious and disturbing questions” about possible war crimes and violations of international human rights law.
“I am horrified by the images of civilians lying dead on the streets and in improvised graves in the town of Bucha in Ukraine,” she said in a statement, adding that “all measures should be taken to preserve evidence.”
“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,” she added.
The European Union announced Monday it was “urgently” preparing a new package of sanctions against Russia’s “atrocities”.
Russia has denied that its troops killed civilians in Bucha, adding that all the photos and videos published by the Ukrainian government were a “provocation.”
The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday the Russian Ministry of Defense had “identified signs of video fakes and various fakes” while urging foreign leaders to not rush to accusations. EFE