The lifeless bodies of tens of civilian men line a single street in the town of Bucha near the Ukrainian capital. Some lie face down on the pavement while others are collapsed on their backs, mouths open in a tragic testament to the horrors of Russian occupation.
The hands of one man are tied behind his back with a piece of white cloth. Another man lies alone, tangled up in a bicycle by a grassy bank. A third man lies in the middle of the road, near the charred remains of a burned-out car.
The shocking images of the carnage in Bucha were captured by Agence France-Presse on Saturday, the same day Ukraine declared the town liberated from Russian troops. Accounts of alleged Russian atrocities are emerging as its forces retreat from areas near Kyiv following a failed bid to encircle the capital.
European Council President Charles Michel tweeted condemning the Russian attacks on civilians, saying he was “Shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region #BuchaMassacre EU is assisting #Ukraine & NGO’s in gathering of necessary evidence for pursuit in international courts. Further EU sanctions & support are on their way.”
“In the wake of the news of the atrocities by the Russian forces, the EU is assisting Ukraine in documenting the commission of war crimes,” EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in a Twitter post, adding that all cases were necessary to be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also wrote on Twitter that “the images of Bucha are unacceptable” and warned that “those responsible for these war crimes must be brought to justice. We will strengthen sanctions against Russia and offer even greater support to Ukraine’s defense,” she said.
A senior official in Ukraine’s presidential office said today that the fifth package of sanctions should be imposed on Russia, targeting all its banks, closing ports to Russian ships, and imposing an embargo on all Russian trade. Andriy Sabiha, deputy director of the Ukrainian presidential office, said in a televised statement that sanctions should be imposed on Russia over its use of violence in the city of Bucha, near Kyiv.