Breaking news and invasion

European leaders condemn Bucha photos, call for investigation of Russian forces

The bodies of at least 20 civilians were found scattered in a street in the city of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, after the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area, according to disturbing photos published by AFP on Saturday.

European leaders condemned the alleged atrocities and called for an investigation into the Russian military. On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry denied the accusations.

Here’s a look at the reaction of leaders across the continent:

United kingdom: On Sunday, Secretary of State Liz Truss accused Russian forces of committing “heinous acts” in the Ukrainian towns of Bucha and Erbin, and demanded that they be investigated as war crimes.

“As Russian forces are forced to withdraw, we are seeing increasing evidence of heinous acts by invading forces in cities such as Irpen and Bucha,” Truss said in a statement on Sunday.

Truss added that their indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians during Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine should be investigated as war crimes.”

Truss stressed that Russia should not be allowed to “cover up its involvement in these atrocities through cynical disinformation,” adding that the UK would play its part in ensuring that does not happen.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also issued a statement on Sunday condemning the events in Ukraine.

“The heinous Russian attacks on innocent civilians in Irbin and Bucha are further evidence that Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine,” the statement said.

“No denial or disinformation from the Kremlin can hide what we all know as the truth: Putin is desperate, his invasion is failing, and Ukraine’s resolve has never been stronger,” he added.

“I will do everything in my power to bring down Putin’s war machine. We will intensify our sanctions and military support, as well as strengthen the humanitarian support package to help those in need on the ground,” the statement said.

Truss pledged that the UK would fully support “any investigation by the International Criminal Court in its role as the leading institution mandated to investigate and prosecute war crimes”. On March 24, the UK offered the International Criminal Court an additional £1 million in funding to help Russia’s war crimes investigation efforts.

Last week, the attorney general for England and Wales, Soila Braverman, offered to help prominent British lawyer Howard Morrison QC to the Ukrainian attorney general.

“It will provide independent and expert legal advice to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova regarding the investigation and prosecution of war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine,” it said in a statement.

European Union: Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Tweeted on Sunday: “I am appalled by reports of unspeakable atrocities in the regions from which Russia is withdrawing. An independent investigation is urgently needed.”

“The perpetrators of war crimes will be held accountable,” he added.

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Mitsula, who became the first female head of an EU institution to visit Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, said while visiting Kyiv on Friday that the photos of Bucha and other liberated areas in Ukraine show the “cold truth of Putin’s war crimes”.

In a tweet on SundayMitsola said she was “horrified” by the “atrocities committed by the Russian army in Bucha and other liberated areas”, and stressed that the world should be “aware of what is happening” in Ukraine and “severe sanctions” should be imposed on Russia. for revenge.

“The perpetrators and their leaders must be brought to justice,” he concluded.

Germany: German Chancellor Olaf Schulz called Bucha’s footage “appalling and horrific” and said the perpetrators should be held accountable.

“We must relentlessly investigate these crimes committed by the Russian military. I call on international organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross to access these areas to independently document the atrocities. The perpetrators and those who carried them out must be held accountable,” Schulz said.

For her part, German Foreign Minister Annallina Barbock said that the pictures emerging from the Ukrainian city of Bucha were “intolerable”.

“Putin’s brutal violence is decimating innocent families and knows no bounds,” Barbock wrote on Twitter on Sunday, calling for those responsible for “war crimes” to be held accountable.

“We will strengthen sanctions against Russia and increase support for Ukraine by defending it,” he wrote on Twitter.

France: The country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, also called Bucha’s photos “unbearable.”

“The images that come to us from Bucha, the liberated city near Kyiv, are unbearable. On the streets, hundreds of civilians were killed as cowards. My sympathy with the victims, my solidarity with the Ukrainians,” Macron said in a tweet on Twitter.

“The Russian authorities will have to hold those responsible for these crimes to account,” he added.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that if what he called “mass abuses” in Busha, Ukraine turned out to be war crimes, those responsible would be “tried and convicted”.

“We must continue and strengthen the strongest economic and international pressure on Russia to compel the Russian authorities to end their war of aggression launched on February 24 against Ukraine, whose human cost and humanitarian impact are becoming more and more serious every day,” Le Drian said. He said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

Italia: Russian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Sunday condemned the alleged Russian violence against civilians in Bucha.

“The images of the crimes committed in Bucha and in other areas liberated by the Ukrainian army make us stunned,” he said in a statement issued by his press office.

“The brutality of the massacres against defenseless civilians is horrific and intolerable. The Russian authorities must immediately stop hostilities, put an end to violence against civilians and hold them accountable for what happened,” he added.

Spain: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his “horror, pain and indignation” after seeing photos of civilians killed in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, in tweet On his official account on Sunday.

“The war crimes that are being committed cannot go unpunished,” Sanchez said. “All our solidarity, help and support for the Ukrainian people.”

CNN’s Nathan Hodge, Max Foster, James Frater, Stephanie Halas, Niamh Kennedy, Nicola Rotolo and Amy Cassidy contributed to this article.

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