Mass killings in Bucha ‘tip of the iceberg,’ Ukraine warns

Ukraine’s foreign minister has warned mass killings of civilians in Bucha are only the “tip of the iceberg” of Russian atrocities in the country.

Dmytro Kuleba said scenes in the port city of Mariupol, which is surrounded by Russian troops, were much worse than in Bucha and other towns outside Kyiv.

Hundreds of bodies have been discovered, some in mass graves and others left rotting in bags, since Vladimir Putin’s troops withdrew from Bucha.

Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw with UK foreign secretary Liz Truss, the UK foreign secretary, Mr Kuleba said that the “horrors” in Bucha and other towns and cities demanded tougher sanctions.

“I can tell you without exaggeration but with great sorrow that the situation in Mariupol is much worse compared to what we’ve seen in Bucha and other towns and villages nearby Kyiv,” he said.

“Half measures are not enough any more. I demand most severe sanctions this week, this is the plea of the victims of the rapes and killings. If you have doubts about sanctions go to Bucha first.”

It comes as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy left the country’s capital, Kyiv, for his first reported trip since the war began on 24 February.

He described the scene in Bucha as evidence of “genocide” and “war crimes”, with dead bodies having been “found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured.”

In an address to Romania’s parliament, Zelensky said he fears there are places where even worse atrocities have happened.

“The military tortured people, and we have every reason to believe that there are many more people killed,” he said. “Much more than we know now.”

The Kremlin continues to deny responsibility for civilian murders carried out during war.

Russia’s envoy to the United Nations earlier claimed that Moscow is preparing to present “empirical evidence” to its security council that Vladimir Putin’s troops have not been killing civilians in Ukraine and were not involved in the events in Bucha,

“We have empirical evidence to support this,” Vasily Nebenzya said.

“We intend to submit them to the security council as soon as possible so that the international community is not misled by the false plot of Kyiv and its Western sponsors.”

Foreign secretary Liz Truss promised her Ukrainian counterpart Mr Kubela the UK will “go to the maximum level of sanctions” against Russia in the wake of the “appalling atrocities” committed by Putin’s forces.

Ms Truss said: “The idea that we should wait for something else bad to happen is completely wrong.

“The worst has already happened. We have already seen appalling atrocities committed in Ukraine with complete impunity.

“That is why we want to go to the maximum level of sanctions with our allies and partners and that is why we are pulling all stops out in terms of supplying Ukraine with the support they need to end this appalling war, which has to mean Putin losing in Ukraine.”

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