Russia’s decision to massacre people in the city of Bucha and leave their bodies strewn across the streets is “not an exception” to the way they wage war, a Ukrainian journalist has warned Newstalk.
The wealthy city on the outskirts of Kyiv was occupied by Russian forces in the early days of the conflict but was recently liberated by Ukrainian troops.
The local Mayor told the BBC that 280 bodies have been discovered in a mass grave and the corpses of at least 20 men were found in the street - some with their hands tied behind their back.
The town has since been visited by President Zelenskyy and on Sunday he accused Russia of “genocide” and attempting “the elimination of the whole nation and the people."
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However, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the claims as “fake news” and said Russia viewed “such provocations as a direct threat to international peace and security."
“Seeing Bucha destroyed in this way and its civilians massacred on such a large scale is of course very heartbreaking,” Ukrainian journalist Olga Tokariuk told The Pat Kenny Show.
“It seems that it was not an exception what happened in Bucha,” she continued.
“This was not some kind of exaggeration by the troops who were not given concrete orders to abstain from these sort of crimes.
“It seems in fact that it was planned and we are also receiving reports from other territories of Ukraine that have been recently liberated from Russian occupiers… about similar crimes being committed there.
“I think in the next days we’ll receive more reports and more confirmation from these areas as journalists reach them and, hopefully, also as human rights defenders reach them and these crimes are documented.
“Because the perpetrators should be brought to justice.”
For Ukrainians, massacres by occupying forces are nothing new; in 1941 Nazis murdered 34,000 Jews in a two-day long bloodbath at Babyn Yar near Kyiv and tossed their bodies into a ravine.
After the fall of the Soviet Union the newly independent Ukrainian Government built a Holocaust memorial on the site to honour the memory of those who had perished in the ravine.
Last month it was bombed by Russian forces in what President Zelenskyy called an example of, “History repeating…”
Main image: 01 March 2022 - The remains of a Russian Army armoured column in Bucha, Ukraine on 01 March 2022 after they were attacked by Ukranians. Picture by: Alamy.com