UPDATED: EU accuses Russian troops of committing atrocities in Ukrainian town Bucha

Reading Time: 3 minutes

April 3 (Reuters) – The European Union on Sunday accused Russian troops of committing atrocities in the Kyiv region after the mayor of the town of Bucha said 300 residents had been killed during a month-long occupation by Russian forces.

“Shocked by news of atrocities committed by Russian forces. EU assists Ukraine in documenting war crimes,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Twitter, adding all cases needed to be pursued by the International Court of Justice.

Ukraine said on Saturday its forces had retaken all areas around Kyiv, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since Russia launched its invasion on Feb 24. The mayor of Bucha, a liberated town 37 km (23 miles) northwest of the capital, said 300 residents had been killed by the Russian army.

“Shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region,” the president of the EU Council grouping the bloc’s member states, Charles Michel, commented on Twitter.

Russia has previously denied targetting civilians and rejected allegations of war crimes in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine. The Russian defence ministry in Moscow did not immediately reply to a request for comment when asked on Sunday about bodies found in Bucha.

Michel said the EU was assisting Ukraine and non-governmental organisations in gathering the necessary evidence for the prosecution of crimes in international courts.

“Further EU sanctions and support are on their way,” he added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia on Sunday of carrying out a deliberate “massacre” in the town of Bucha outside Kyiv and called on the G7 to impose “devastating” new sanctions on Moscow.

“We are still gathering and looking for bodies, but the number has already gone into the hundreds. Dead bodies lie on the streets. They killed civilians while staying there and when they were leaving these villages and towns,” his ministry quoted him as saying on Twitter.

Russia has so far not commented publicly on the claims. Moscow has previously repeatedly denied Ukrainian claims that it has targeted civilians.

 Allegations of attacks against civilians during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, adding that the UK would fully support any such move by the International Criminal Court.

“As Russian troops are forced into retreat, we are seeing increasing evidence of appalling acts by the invading forces in towns such as Irpin and Bucha,” Truss said in a statement, referring to places near Kyiv.

“Their indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians during Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes.”

Russia has previously denied targetting civilians and rejected allegations of war crimes in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

See also: Ukrainians Find Dead Civilians In Towns Retaken From Russian Forces

Photo distributed by Ukrainian Emergency Services

Once you're here...