- Share to or
‘Russia’s culture died along with these Ukrainians’ The world reacts to evidence of Russian atrocities in Bucha
On April 2, the Internet was flooded with photos showing dozens of murdered civilians on the streets of Bucha and other towns in Ukraine’s Kyiv region that were recently freed from Russian occupation. Since then, new eyewitness accounts and official reports of the crimes committed in the occupied territories have appeared; meanwhile, the Russian authorities have declared the images and accounts “fake” and a “provocation.” Meduza has compiled the world's reactions to the news so far.
410 bodies have been removed from the Kyiv region for forensic examinations, according to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova. According to her, investigators are working in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions to record “every crime of the invading Russian troops without exception.” Demining operations are also ongoing; according to Venediktova, officials believe that in addition to undetonated ammunition, there may also be mines planted in dead bodies by Russian troops. “This is hell, and we need to document it in order to punish the monsters that created it on our land,” said the Prosecutor General.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “This is how the Russian state will now be seen. Your culture and your humanity died along with these Ukrainians.” Speaking about the murdered civilians near Kyiv in a video address, Zelensky switched from Ukrainian to Russian and said the following:
“I want every mother of every Russian soldier to see the bodies of the people murdered in Bucha, in Irpin, in Hostomel. What did they do? Why were they killed? The man riding down the street on his bicycle — what did he do? Why did they torture these regular citizens in this ordinary, peaceful city to death? Why did they strangle these women after ripping their earrings out of their ears? How is it possible to rape women and kill them in full view of their children? To continue abusing their bodies even after death? Why did they crush people’s bodies with tanks? What did the Ukrainian city of Bucha do to your Russia? How was this possible?
Russian mothers, even if you raised your children to be looters, how did they become executioners? You couldn’t have been unaware of what’s inside of your children. No soul, no heart. They killed deliberately and with pleasure.
I want all of the leaders of the Russian Federation to see how their orders are being carried out. These kinds of orders lead to these kinds of results. And to shared responsibility — for these murders, for these tortures, for these arms lying in the streets, torn off by explosions. For the tied-up people shot in the back of the head.
This is how the Russian state will be seen from now on. This is your image. Your culture and your humanity died along with the Ukrainians to whom you came.”
The Russian Defense Ministry called the reports of Russian troops murdering civilians “a provocation” and “staged.” The agency claimed that when Bucha was under the Russian military’s control, “not one local resident suffered from any violent acts,” and that Ukrainian soldiers, meanwhile, were shelling the city’s southern districts “around the clock.”
According to the statement, the Russian Defense Ministry considers it “suspicious” that “all of the so-called ‘evidence of crimes’ in Bucha appeared only four days after” Russian troops left the city, “when the SBU [Ukrainian security service] and TV network officials arrived in the city.” The Ministry also expressed “particular concern” that the bodies allegedly did not look the way bodies of people who have been dead “for at least four days” should look.
Russia has requested a UN Security Council meeting on April 4 “due to the monstrous provocation by Ukrainian radicals in Bucha.” UN Secretary General António Guterres stated earlier that he was “deeply shocked” by the accounts of civilian deaths in Bucha, calling for an independent investigation and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Russian pro-government media networks have begun claiming the evidence of civilian murders in Bucha is fake. Mediazona has refuted their arguments. On April 3, the Telegram channel “The War on Fakes”, which has previously distributed patently false statements about the “fakeness” of footage from a children’s hospital in Mariupol, made a post “exposing” a video that was taken in Bucha from a moving vehicle after Russian troops retreated. The post claims that one of the dead victims on the side of the road in the video can be seen moving his arm, and that another victim, visible in the car’s rear-view mirror, can be seen sitting up. The Russian Defense Ministry shared the post on their own Telegram channel; the arguments continue to cycle through the pro-government media — for example, in a Sunday evening post from RIA Novosti.
As Mediazona showed, the supposed “moving arm” pointed out by “The War on Fakes” is actually a glare or a scratch on the car’s windshield, while the person “sitting up” is actually the result of a distortion in the rear-view mirror.
Western countries plan to impose new sanctions against Russia for the killings of Ukrainian civilians. This was confirmed by European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A number of European leaders have made statements addressing the events around Kyiv; French President Emmanuel Macron said that the “Russian authorities will have to answer for these crimes.”
- Share to or