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Ukraine accuses Russia of genocide in Bucha town, Moscow denies allegations

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Ukraine on Sunday accused Russia of genocide after mass graves and 20 bodies in civilian clothes were recovered from Bucha town on the outskirts of the capital city of Kyiv, news agency AFP reported. Russia denied the allegations, calling it ‘provocation’.

“This is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the CBS program Face the Nation. Zelenskyy’s allegations come amid the recovery of 57 bodies which were buried in a mass grave in the town outside the Ukrainian capital. 

“Here in this long grave, 57 people are buried,” said Serhii Kaplychnyi, who identified himself as head of the rescue services in Bucha and who was organising the recovery of the bodies. On Saturday, at least 20 bodies in civilian clothes were found lying in a single street after the Ukrainian forces had taken control of the town. 

According to the local mayor, at least 300 civilians had been killed in Bucha since the Russians launched a full-scale invasion on Ukraine. “”It could be civilians killed by bombardment or they could have been shot by Russian soldiers. Law enforcement officials will deal with it,” a Kyiv official told AFP. 

The United States and other Western countries have condemned the deaths of civilians. “You can’t help but see these images as a punch to the gut,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. 

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg called the deaths of civilians completely horrific and unacceptable. Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union all called for those responsible to be brought to book at the international tribunal in The Hague.

The Russian defence ministry denied the allegations of killing civilians, calling the photographs released by Kyiv a complete ‘provocation’. Moscow also claimed that its troops had left Bucha on March 30.  

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