The atrocities in Borodyanka are ‘significantly more dreadful’ than the scenes in the Ukrainian horror town of Bucha, with residents left to die in the rubble of their bombed homes for a week, Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
The mass killing of civilians in Bucha, near Kyiv, have been widely condemned by the West as war crimes with piles of bodies showing signs of torture and execution pictured after it had been recaptured by Ukrainian forces.
But officials have now revealed that even greater damage was done by Putin‘s thugs in Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv and about 15 miles from Bucha.
Zelensky said: ‘They have started sorting through the ruins in Borodyanka. It’s much more horrific there, there are even more victims of Russian occupiers.’
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said rescue workers recovered 26 bodies from underneath two destroyed apartment buildings, again accusing Moscow of targeting civilian areas.
‘Just in the rubble of two apartment blocs, 26 bodies were recovered,’ Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said on Facebook. ‘Only the civilian population was targeted: there is no military site here,’ she said, adding it was ‘impossible to predict’ how many more dead there were at the site.
Venediktova said the Russians have used cluster bombs and heavy multiple rocket launchers ‘that bring death and destruction.’
‘Evidence of the Russian forces’ war crimes is at every turn,’ she wrote. ‘The enemy treacherously shelled residential infrastructure in the evenings, when there was a maximum amount of people home,’ Venediktova said.
She accused Russian forces of engaging in ‘killings, torture and beatings’ of civilians, as well as sexual assault. Venediktova said Ukrainian law enforcement officers were collecting evidence from Borodyanka for local and international courts.
The Ukrainian Parliament added in a tweet: ‘The destruction in Borodyanka was considered even worse than in Irpen and Bucha. The world will soon learn about the atrocities of the occupiers there, but now only one thing is clear – the village in ruins.
‘Of the 29 high-rise buildings, 21 were damaged, 8 of them were completely destroyed. Rescuers have been dismantling the debris for several days now, so the horrific finds will soon be known to everyone.’
A shocking photo of a woman waiting for the bodies of her sister and nephew to be found in the rubble of bombed flats in the town was also shared by Ukrainian government sources.
The photo showed the woman sitting on a chair as rescuers desperately comb for survivors. According to locals, the Russians blocked rescue efforts, leaving people buried under rubble for a week before Putin’s forces eventually withdrew.
The identity of the woman is unclear, although Ukrainian sources say she is named Liudmyla and is from the town. Rescuers are said to have brought her a chair because she had been standing for three days waiting. The building was destroyed on March 1.
Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv region about a week ago to regroup in the east, leaving scenes of death and horror in commuter towns around the capital. Ukraine has accused the Russians of executing hundreds of peaceful civilians, some of whom were discovered dead with their hands tied behind their backs, as well as of torture and rape.
It comes as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly refused to admit any wrongdoing and described footage of war crimes committed in Ukraine as ‘fake’ and ‘lies’, although he did admit Russia had suffered ‘significant losses of troops’ in the first government acknowledgement of the faltering war.
A woman waits for her family to be unearthed from under the rubble in Borodyanka, a town near Kyiv recently occupied by the Russian army
War crime prosecutor’s team member speaks on the phone next to buildings that were destroyed by Russian shelling, amid Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, in Borodyanka
Cemetery workers unload bodies of civilians killed in and around Bucha before they are transported to the morgue at a cemetery
In a wide-ranging interview, Peskov repeatedly refused to admit any wrongdoing on Russia’s part and described footage of war crimes committed by its soldiers as ‘fake’ and ‘lies’
Ukrainian officials have warned that the slaughter of hundreds of civilians by Russian troops on the outskirts of Kyiv could just be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as more allegations of atrocities emerge. Pictured: A destroyed building in Borodyanka, Ukraine
Pictured: Locals carry a coffin on a wheelbarrow as the city was hit by shelling in the small city of Borodyanka near Kiev
A residential building destroyed by shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Borodyanka in the Kyiv region
He rejected allegations of a massacre in the Ukrainian town of Bucha as ‘a well-staged insinuation’, claiming that bodies found in the streets were placed after Russian troops withdrew.
‘We are living in days of fakes and lies which we meet every day,’ he said, speaking in English by video link from Moscow.
‘We deny the Russian military can have something in common with these atrocities and that dead bodies were shown on the streets of Bucha.’
Moscow has been accused of war crimes and genocide after photos emerged from the commuter town of Bucha, near Kyiv, which showed streets littered with the bodies of civilians, many with their hands behind their backs, gunshot wounds and signs of torture.
But Ukrainian officials have warned that other areas nearby may have seen worse atrocities and that Bucha could be just the beginning.
Ukrainian prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova told Ukrainian TV that a ‘similar humanitarian situation’ to Bucha exists in other parts of the country where Russian forces recently left, such as the areas around the northern cities of Sumy and Chernihiv.
She also said the situation in Borodyanka, which is further from Kyiv and was also held by Russian forces until recently, may be even worse.
Venediktova didn’t specify what exactly had happened in Borodyanka but said ‘the worst situation in terms of the victims’ is there.
The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday suspended Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council over reports of ‘gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights’ by invading Russian troops in Ukraine.
The U.S.-led push won 93 votes in favour to suspend Russia, while 24 countries voted no and 58 countries abstained. A two-thirds majority of voting members – excluding abstentions – was needed to suspend Russia from the 47-member council.
Screens show results from voting by the United Nations General Assembly as member countries pass a resolution to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at United Nations headquarters in New York, April 7 2022
Vladyslava Liubarets, a Bucha resident, walks with her family past destroyed Russian military machinery
A man pushes his bike through debris and destroyed Russian military vehicles on a street in Bucha
Civilians inspect the wreckage of a tank in the town of Bucha, the scene of horrific Russian atrocities
The vote followed allegations that Russian troops systematically executed civilians in Bucha, a town north-west of Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, and amid other reports of human rights abuses since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion on Feb. 24.
Suspensions from the council are rare. Libya was suspended in 2011 because of violence against protesters by forces loyal to then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The resolution adopted by the 193-member General Assembly draft expresses ‘grave concern at the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,’ particularly at reports of rights abuses by Russia in the town of Bucha and others.
Russia had threatened countries that a yes vote or abstention will be viewed as an ‘unfriendly gesture’ with consequences for bilateral ties.
Ukrainian officials are currently gathering evidence of Russian atrocities in Bucha and other cities, amid signs Moscow’s troops killed people indiscriminately before retreating.
Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of least 410 civilians were found in towns around Kyiv, victims of what President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said was a Russian campaign of murder, rape, dismemberment and torture.
Some victims had apparently been shot at close range and Some were found with their hands bound.
Mr Zelensky accused Russia of interfering with an international investigation into possible war crimes by removing bodies and trying to hide other evidence in Bucha, north west of Kyiv.
‘We have information that the Russian troops have changed tactics and are trying to remove the dead people, the dead Ukrainians, from the streets and cellars of territory they occupied,’ he said during his latest video address. ‘This is only an attempt to hide the evidence and nothing more.’
The heartbreaking story behind one of the war’s saddest and most iconic images (pictured) has been uncovered, as Ukrainian authorities continue to count the dead in Bucha. It has been reported that this hand was that of 52-year-old Iryna Filkina, who was killed when a Russian tank gunned her down early last month
The hand in the gut-wrenching picture, it turns out, belonged to 52-year-old Iryna Filkina (pictured) – an aspiring makeup artist who posted tutorials to her social media pages. Her red and pink nails can be seen in this photograph she posted online
A Russian tank (left) is shown firing moments after a cyclist (right) turned the corner on the junction. The video, released a couple of days ago, is now thought to show the moment Iryna Filkina was killed in Bucha
A satellite image taken of a street in the city of Bucha on March 19 – when Russian forces were in full control of the city – shows dark objects in the road that exactly match where civilian corpses were later discovered by Ukrainian troops
Switching from Ukrainian to Russian, Mr Zelensky urged ordinary Russians ‘to somehow confront the Russian repressive machine’ instead of being ‘equated with the Nazis for the rest of your life’.
He called on Russians to demand an end to the war ‘if you have even a little shame about what the Russian military is doing in Ukraine’.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the evidence of civilian killings was just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, with Ukrainian forces yet to reach all areas vacated by Russian troops, and showed the need for tougher sanctions on Moscow.
It comes as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Romania’s parliament Monday evening in a video call in which the leader said had Ukraine not defended itself, Russia would have carried out atrocities like that of Bucha ‘all over Ukraine.’
Zelenskyy, who was visibly emotional when he visited the town of Bucha on Monday to see the alleged crimes of Russia’s forces against Ukrainian civilians, shared grim video footage during his address that showed areas strewn with dead bodies.
‘The military tortured people and we have every reason to believe that there are many more people killed,’ Zelenskyy said. ‘Much more than we know now.’
The Ukrainian leader also called for tougher sanctions, saying ‘Russia must be deprived of all resources, primarily economic’ and said that the fate of the region will be decided by the outcome of the war in Ukraine.
Before the Ukrainian leader’s address, the president of Romania’s Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu, said the last few days ‘have shown us horrible images that have overwhelmed and revolted us all.’
‘I support a speedy investigation by the International Criminal Court,’ Ciolacu said.
The Ukrainian President appeared overwhelmed during his visit on Monday, admitting he found ‘it very difficult to talk when you see what they’ve done here’.
On the streets of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, the bodies of civilians have been found scattered, many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture, after Russian forces retreated from the area.
Ukraine and Western leaders have accused Russia of carrying out the massacre of civilians and dumping their bodies in mass graves, with one pit in Bucha containing at least 57 people.