As Russian forces retreat from the outskirts of Kyiv, evidence of war crimes emerges from Ukraine's liberated towns and villages.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of atrocities and told the U.N. Security Council that those responsible should immediately be brought up on war crimes charges in front of a tribunal like the one established at Nuremberg after World War II. Evidence of these war crimes has come to light as Russian forces withdrew from the previously occupied towns and villages on the outskirts of Kyiv.
"Over the past few days, grisly images of what appeared to be intentional killings of civilians carried out by Russian forces in Bucha and other towns," write Oleksandr Stashevskyi and Edith M. Lederer for AP, "have caused a global outcry and led Western nations to expel scores of Moscow’s diplomats and propose further sanctions."
Excerpt from AP: Zelenskyy, peaking via video from Ukraine to U.N. diplomats, said that civilians had been tortured, shot in the back of the head, thrown down wells, blown up with grenades in their apartments and crushed to death by tanks while in cars. “They cut off limbs, cut their throats. Women were raped and killed in front of their children,” he said. He asserted that people’s tongues were pulled out “only because their aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them.”
"The Biden administration says that these atrocities are aligned with the broader Russian policy aim of terrorizing the Ukrainians into submission. And this may well be true," says Andrew Exum for The Atlantic. "But Russia’s military has not yet proved an ability to competently execute any strategy in Ukraine, so I am dubious that Russian policy objectives fully explain the bulk of the crimes we are witnessing. What we are seeing is likely something much more familiar, and much more universal."
Excerpt from The Atlantic: These sorts of crimes occur when military organizations are committed into combat without clear, achievable objectives, and without a professional noncommissioned-officer corps to enforce discipline within the ranks. They are what happens when military organizations are not held to account for their actions; when soldiers, after seeing the deaths of their friends in the face of unforeseen resistance, resort to savagery; and when the guardrails to prevent such a descent into inhumanity are absent.
Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: When the Russian army withdrew last week after a monthlong occupation, her neighbors found Ms. Sukhenko’s lifeless body in a shallow grave, her hands bound. Her husband and son lay next to her, dead. Olha, Ihor and Oleksandr Sukhenko are but three of the faces of the brutal aftermath of Russia’s occupation that Ukrainian officials and villagers say left civilians dead on the street and buried under thin layers of dirt before fierce resistance drove them out.
In retaliation for the brutal atrocities across Ukraine, "The U.S., its G7 allies and the European Union are banning new investment in Russia and sanctioning Russia's largest bank, as well as Russian elites including Vladimir Putin's adult daughters," reports Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu for Axios.
Excerpt from Axios: A senior administration official told reporters that the steps were necessitated by the "sickening brutality in Bucha," a Kyiv suburb where the bodies of dozens of civilians were discovered after Russian troops pulled out. The official said the sanctions over Russia's invasion would push the country back to Soviet-era living standards.