The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday as President Joe Biden and a growing chorus of world leaders condemned Russia after Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces.
The Russian withdrawal from towns around Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, revealed the corpses, which led to calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, especially a cutoff of gas and oil imports from Russia. Germany and France reacted by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, suggesting they were spies. U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.
“This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous,” Biden said, referring to the town northwest of the capital that was the scene of some of the horrors.
Zelenskyy plans to address the U.N. body after it receives briefings from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; his political chief, Rosemary DiCarlo, and U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, who is trying to arrange a cease-fire.
Zelenskyy also acknowledged the challenges in conducting peace talks after the killings in Bucha. “It’s very difficult to conduct negotiations when you see what they did here,” Zelenskyy said, adding that “dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured” in the suburb and elsewhere.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the report as fake news, claiming Ukrainian forces killed their own people in a bid to dehumanize Russia and tarnish its image as much as possible.”
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WHAT IS A WAR CRIME?:Ukraine accuses Russia of them, but what exactly constitutes a war crime?
► EU Commission: President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy this week.
► The war will have a worldwide economic impact far beyond Europe: a World Bank report released Tuesday predicted slowing growth and rising poverty in Asia during the coming months due to disruptions to supplies of commodities, financial strains, and higher prices.
►The Ukrainian government says 18 journalists have been killed and 13 wounded in the country since the war began. In addition, eight have been abducted or taken prisoner and three are missing.
State Department calls atrocities part of a ‘broader, troubling campaign’
The credible reports of torture, rape, and civilian executions in Ukraine are probably not the acts of rogue soldiers, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday.
‘“They are part of a broader, troubling campaign,” he said at a State Department briefing.
Price said the world has been shocked by “the horrifying images of the Kremlin’s brutality” in Bucha and other cities near Kyiv. Civilians, many with their hands tied, were apparently executed in the streets.
Others were dumped in mass graves. As they’ve retreated, Russians have also left behind land mines and booby traps to injure more Ukrainians and slow recovery, Price said.
The apparent atrocities will be one of the topics of discussion when Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with his NATO counterparts in Belgium this week.
Allies are already discussing additional sanctions and ways to help Ukraine document war crimes for a criminal prosecution, Price said. The U.S. has contributed both money and manpower to help Ukraine’s prosecutor general compile a case.
— Maureen Groppe
German president admits mistakes with Russia
Germany’s president is admitting mistakes in policy toward Russia in his previous job as foreign minister.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier served twice as ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s foreign minister, most recently from 2013 to 2017, and before that as ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s chief of staff. In that time, Germany pursued dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin and cultivated close energy ties.
Steinmeier told ZDF television Tuesday that “we failed on many points,” including efforts to encourage Russia toward democracy and respecting human rights.
The president conceded that “there were different assessments” of Russia among European countries. He added: “It is true that we should have taken the warnings of our eastern European partners more seriously, particularly regarding the time after 2014” and the building of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
— Associated Press
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