Russia faced mounting international condemnation amid reports of possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and other parts of Ukraine.
In a post on Twitter on April 3, European Council President Charles Michel said Moscow will face “further EU sanctions.”
Michel said he was “shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region.”
U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement that her government has seen “increasing evidence of appalling acts by the invading forces in towns such as Irpin and Bucha.”
Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk said on April 2 that some 300 local civilians had been shot during the time the town was occupied by Russian forces. About 280 were allegedly dumped in a mass grave, while the rest were left in the streets.
Moving and graphic images of the bodies have been distributed on social media.
“These are the consequences of Russian occupation,” Fedoruk was quoted as saying.
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Russia has not responded to the reports.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Germany’s Bild newspaper that “what happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv can only be described as genocide.” He said Russian President Vladimir Putin bore responsibility.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba said the “Bucha massacre was deliberate.”
“I demand new, devastating G7 sanctions NOW,” Kuleba wrote in an April 3 post on Twitter, referring to the Group of Seven leading economies.
The accusations of alleged atrocities have emerged as Russian forces pull back from positions around Kyiv and the northern cities of Chernihiv and Kharkiv.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on April 3 that it had “documented several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations against civilians in occupied areas of Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions of Ukraine.”
The NGO said that, on March 4, Russian forces in Bucha shot at least one man in the back of the head.
Truss said on April 2 that she was “appalled by atrocities in Bucha and other towns in Ukraine” and promised that perpetrators would be prosecuted.
In his post on Twitter, Michel said the European Union was assisting Ukraine “in gathering of necessary evidence for pursuit in international courts.”
The International Criminal Court had earlier opened an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
The Human Rights Watch report included several allegations of rapes, two cases of summary executions involving seven victims, and other instances of threats and violence against civilians.
“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” Hugh Williamson, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia director, was quoted as saying.