Ahead of Russia and Ukraine negotiators resuming peace talks via video conference on Monday, Moscow has been accused of “genocide” and “war crimes”. The accusation comes following reports of at least 20 bodies in civilian clothes being found in Bucha – a town northwest of Kyiv.
One of the bodies, as reported by foreign agencies, had the man with his hands tied. Russian troops left several towns around Kyiv over the last few days after Moscow promised to “radically” de-escalate operations during a face-to-face meeting with Kyiv negotiators in Turkey on March 29.
According to The Associated Press, at least three of the bodies were naked from the waist up, and one appeared to have been shot in the chest from close range. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko held Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for “cruel war crimes”, and called on the international community, especially Germany, to immediately end gas imports from Russia.
“Not a penny should go to Russia anymore, that’s bloody money used to slaughter people. The gas and oil embargo must come immediately,” he was quoted as saying by AP.
According to a latest AFP report, Berlin has condemned the Bucha “war crime”, and has called for slapping Russia with more sanctions.
Britain’s foreign secretary Liz Truss echoed Klitschko, calling the attacks by Russian troops “indiscriminate”, according to Reuters. She said that such attacks on “innocent civilians” during Russia’s “illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes”.
Ukraine said on Saturday its forces have regained control of the Bucha town.
Meanwhile, Moscow’s lead negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said earlier today that Kyiv was becoming “more realistic ” in its positions pertaining to the peace talks.
On Wednesday (March 30), a day after the face-to-face talks between Moscow and Kyiv negotiators in nearly three weeks in Turkey, Medinsky said on Russian television that Ukraine had given in writing it was willing to no longer pursue North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) membership, renounce nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, adopt ‘non-bloc’ status, and also commit not to host foreign troops or military bases in its territory.