Live updates: Russia urged to halt use of land mines

What’s happened in Ukraine on Monday and how are countries around the world responding? Read live updates on Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Warning: These updates contain details that may be disturbing. 

UNITED NATIONS — A top official in the global campaign against the use of land mines is urging Russia to halt the use in Ukraine of these weapons that too often kill and maim civilians.

Alicia Arango Olmos, Colombia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and this year’s president of the state parties to the 1997 convention banning the production and use of land mines, expressed deep concern at media reports that Russia is using land mines in its war in Ukraine.

She pointed to Human Rights Watch which said on March 29 that Ukrainian explosive ordnance disposal technician located banned ant-personnel mines in the eastern Kharkiv region a day earlier.

The rights group said Russia is known to possess the type of mines that were discovered, but Ukraine doesn’t have them.

Arango Olmos told a news conference Monday that Ukraine is one of the 164 state parties to the convention, but Russia is not.

Monday was the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.


LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he spoke Monday with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres about events in Bucha in what appear to be deliberate killings in the town on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.

“No place for Russia on the UN Human Rights Council,” Kuleba said on Twitter. “Ukraine will use all available UN mechanisms to collect evidence and hold Russian war criminals to account.”

Videos and photos of streets in Bucha strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, some with their hands tied behind their back, have led to global revulsion, calls for tougher sanctions, and Russia’s suspension from the U.N.’s premiere human rights body, the Human Rights Council.

According to Ukraine’s prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova, the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces.

Associated Press journalists have reported seeing dozens of the bodies in various spots around Bucha, northwest of the capital.

PARIS — The French foreign ministry announced Monday that France has decided to expel “numerous” Russian diplomats, saying their “activities were contrary to our security interests.”

The announcement came hours after Germany said it was expelling 40 diplomat and Lithuania said it expelled the Russian ambassador and will recall its envoy in Moscow. No number was immediately given for how many are being expelled by France.

German news agency dpa quoted German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser as saying that the diplomats being expelled are those “whom we attribute to the Russian intelligence services.”

Faeser says that “we won’t allow this criminal war of aggression to also be conducted as an information war in Germany.”


UNITED NATIONS — Britain’s UN ambassador says a previously planned UN Security Council meeting Tuesday is certain to focus “front and centre” on the killing of large numbers of civilians in Ukraine.

Some of the dead were found with their hands tied behind their backs after Russian troops left the Ukrainian town of Bucha on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.

The United Kingdom holds the council presidency in April, and Ambassador Barbara Woodward said Britain didn’t grant Russia’s request for a meeting on the situation in Bucha on Monday because “we didn’t see a good reason to have two meetings back to back on Ukraine.”

She told reporters that the Security Council will be briefed Tuesday by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths and UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo.

Woodward said that “the images that we saw coming out of Bucha over the weekend were harrowing, appalling, probable evidence of war crimes and possibly a genocide.”


MOSCOW – Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says the country feels no impact from the expulsion of its diplomats by various European countries, and indicates Russia will respond in kind.

Medvedev was Russia’s president from 2008 through 2012 and is now deputy chairman of the security council under President Vladimir Putin. Writing on the messaging app Telegram, Medvedev says that “everyone knows the response: it will be symmetrical and destructive for bilateral relations.”

His comments came after Germany expelled 40 Russian diplomats Monday and Lithuania expelled the Russian ambassador and said it would recall its envoy in Moscow. France on Monday also announced it will expel “numerous” Russian diplomats.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says more than 1,550 civilians were evacuated on Monday from the besieged port of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine.

Vereshchuk said a total of 2,405 people were evacuated along a humanitarian corridor route running from Mariupol to the Ukraine-held city of Zaporizhzhia, with 1,553 of those coming from Mariupol itself and the rest from other locations in the heavily contested area.

She said the people used the dwindling number of private vehicles left in the area to get out of Mariupol and that a convoy of seven buses sent to help remained unable to enter the city to collect people.

Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, is a key Russian military objective that has faced horrific bombardment.

Vereshchuk added that 971 other people were evacuated from five locations in the eastern Luhansk region, where Russia is now focusing much of its military efforts. She accused Russia of “systematically breaching” a local cease-fire planned to facilitate evacuations there.


LVIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova told Ukrainian TV today 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.

Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the Ukrainian capital, including Bucha, after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops, many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture.

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.


BUCHAREST, Romania – Ukraine 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 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 Bucha killings – which Zelenskyy labeled a “genocide” – have become the centre of worldwide outrage against Russia.

“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.


KYIV, Ukraine – The Ukrainian government says that 18 journalists have been killed in the country since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24.

The Ukrainian Culture and Information Ministry said in a statement on social media Monday that each of the deaths and other crimes against media representatives will be investigated.

The ministry added that another 13 journalists had been wounded, eight had been abducted or taken prisoner and three journalists were still missing. It said that several crimes had been committed against journalists from 11 countries, including Ukraine.


BERLIN – Germany’s top security official says the dozens of Russian diplomats being expelled in response to the killings in Bucha are linked to their country’s intelligence agencies.

German news agency dpa quoted Interior Minister Nancy Faeser saying that “we have chosen 40 people whom we attribute to the Russian intelligence services.”

“We won’t allow this criminal war of aggression to also be conducted as an information war in Germany,” she said.

Earlier Monday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the images received from the Ukrainian town following the withdrawal of Russian troops “shows an intent to destroy that goes beyond all boundaries.” Baerbock said the Bucha images also reveal the “unbelievable brutality of the Russian leadership and those who follow its propaganda.”

She said the Russian diplomats expelled “have worked here in Germany every day against our freedom, against the cohesion of our society” and that their work is “a threat to those who seek protection with us.”

Baerbock said she told the Russian ambassador “we will not tolerate this any longer.”


LVIV, Ukraine — The governor of Ukraine’s northern Sumy region says Russian forces no longer control any settlements in the area following their retreat, although some small groups of Russian troops remain.

The city of Sumy is near the border with Russia and was besieged by Russian troops when the invasion began in February, as other Russian forces pushed onward to join efforts to attack the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, from the northeast. Russia began withdrawing troops from the area around Kyiv last week and says it is now focusing its efforts on the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Sumy Gov. Dmytro Zhyvystskyy said on Ukrainian TV that “currently there are no occupied settlements” and that invading forces have pulled back across the border into Russia with their vehicles and artillery.

However, he added, “there are still individual units and small groups of Russian troops and now they are being caught” by the Ukrainian army and local Territorial Defence volunteers.

“A clean-up is happening across the whole territory of the region,” he said.

Germany is expelling 40 Russian diplomats in response to the killings in Bucha and says further measures with partners are being prepared.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Monday the images received from the Ukrainian town following the withdrawal of Russian troops “shows an intent to destroy that goes beyond all boundaries.”

Baerbock said the Bucha images also reveal the “unbelievable brutality of the Russian leadership and those who follow its propaganda.”

The German top diplomat said “we must fear similar images from many other places occupied by Russian troops in Ukraine” and that “we must counter this inhumanity with the strength of our freedom and our humanity.”

She added “it must also be clear that we must stand up for our freedom and be prepared to defend it.”

She said the Russian diplomats expelled “have worked here in Germany every day against our freedom, against the cohesion of our society” and that their work is “a threat to those who seek protection with us.”

Baerbock said she told the Russian ambassador “we will not tolerate this any longer.”


THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The United States is allocating US$250,000 to the global chemical weapons watchdog to provide “assistance and protection” to Ukraine if it is targeted or threatened with chemical weapons.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced the contribution Monday, following a meeting last Thursday between Marc Shaw, deputy assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance and OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias.

Western nations have warned of possible chemical weapons attacks by Russian forces since Moscow launched its invasion of its neighbour in late February.

Shaw said in a statement that the United States “stands with Ukraine and all those who face the threat of chemical weapons use.”

He says he hopes the money will allow the organization to “quickly assist Ukraine as it seeks protection against chemical threats from the Russian government.”


WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday called for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin and additional sanctions following reported atrocities in Bucha, one of the towns surrounding the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv where Ukrainian officials say the bodies of civilians have been found.

“What’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone sees it,” Biden said.

Biden’s comments came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the city called the Russian actions “genocide.” Zelenskyy also called for the West to apply tougher sanctions against Russia.

Biden, however, stopped short of calling the actions genocide.

The bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces, said Ukraine’s prosecutor-general, Iryna Venediktova. Associated Press journalists saw the bodies of at least 21 people in various spots around Bucha, northwest of the capital.

“We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight. And we have to gather all the detail so this can be an actual — have a war crimes trial,” Biden said.


VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania on Monday announced that it will expel Russia’s ambassador and recall its envoy in Moscow in reaction to increasing signs that Russian forces may have committed war crimes in Ukraine.

The Baltic country also decided to close a Russian consulate in the port city of Klaipeda.

“Lithuania strongly condemned the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in occupied Ukrainian cities, including the brutal massacres in Bucha. All war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine will not be forgotten,” Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a statement Monday.

He added that Lithuania’s ambassador to Ukraine was returning to Kyiv and that Lithuania’s European Union and NATO partners have been informed of its decision to expel the Russian ambassador and he called on them to do the same.

In neighbouring Latvia, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said that Riga will narrow diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation, according to the Baltic News Service. No decision was made regarding reducing the ties.


A Russian law enforcement agency says it has launched its own investigation into allegations that Ukrainian civilians were massacred in suburbs of Kyiv which were held by Russian troops, focusing on what it calls “false information” about Russian forces.

The Investigative Committee claims Ukrainian authorities made the allegations “with the aim of discrediting Russian troops” and that those involved should be investigated over possible breaches of a new Russian law banning what the government deems to be false information about its forces.

Russian law enforcement has launched several investigations since Russian troops entered Ukraine, typically into incidents such as the shelling of areas held by Russia-backed separatists.


KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Russia needs to move quickly to negotiate an agreement to end the war.

Speaking on a visit Monday to the town of Bucha outside Kyiv, where hundreds of civilians were found dead after Russian troops’ retreat last week, Zelenskyy said the evidence of atrocities makes it hard to conduct talks with Russia.

“It’s very difficult to conduct negotiations when you see what they did here,” Zelenskyy said, adding that in Bucha and other places “dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured.” He added that the Russian leadership “needs to think faster if it has what to think with.”

Zelenskyy added that “the longer the Russian Federation drags it out, the worse it will exacerbate its own situation and this war.” Zelenskyy reaffirmed his criticism of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s opposition to Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, saying that she and other Western leaders who resisted the move should come to Bucha to “see what the flirting with the Russian Federation leads to.”


CAIRO — Five Arab foreign ministers have travelled to Moscow for talks with Russia’s top diplomat on the war in Ukraine.

The Arab League says the foreign ministers of Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan and Sudan will meet Monday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Ahemd Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, will also join the meeting.

The pan-Arab organization says the ministers will then travel to Poland on Tuesday for talks with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.


GENEVA — The United States plans to seek a suspension of Russia from its seat on the UN’s top human rights body in the wake of rising signs that Russian forces may have committed war crimes in Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday.

According to a statement from her office, Thomas-Greenfield made the call for Russia to be stripped of its seat in the Human Rights Council in the wake of reports over the weekend about violence against civilians in the town of Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after Russian forces pulled out.

Any decision to suspend Russia would require a decision by the UN General Assembly in New York.

Russia and the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France and the United States — all currently have seats on the 47-member rights council, which is based in Geneva. The United States rejoined the council this year.

Thomas-Greenfield mentioned the U.S. plan in a meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, her office said.

In New York, General Assembly spokeswoman Paulina Kubiak said on Monday that no request for a meeting on the issue has been received yet.

Russia should not have a position of authority in that body, nor should we allow Russia to use its seat on the Council as a tool of propaganda to suggest they have a legitimate concern about human rights.
— Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@USAmbUN) April 4, 2022


GENEVA — The United Nations’ top human rights official is calling for “independent and effective investigations” into what happened in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Monday that she is “horrified by the images of civilians lying dead on the streets and in improvised graves.”

She added that “reports emerging from this and other areas raise serious and disturbing questions about possible war crimes, grave breaches of international humanitarian law and serious violations of international human rights law.”

Bachelet said it’s essential that all bodies be exhumed and identified so that victims’ families can be informed and the exact causes of death determined. She said all measures should be taken to preserve evidence.

“It is vital that all efforts are made to ensure there are independent and effective investigations into what happened in Bucha to ensure truth, justice and accountability, as well as reparations and remedy for victims and their families,” Bachelet said.

#Ukraine: “I am horrified by the images of civilians lying dead on the streets & in improvised graves in the town of #Bucha,” @mbachelet. “It is vital that all efforts are made to ensure independent & effective investigations into what happened in Bucha.”https://t.co/4NVSNal0pD pic.twitter.com/HRblFURuRb
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) April 4, 2022


LONDON — Britain has condemned Russia’s “barbaric” killing of civilians in Ukraine, though it stopped short of calling Moscow’s actions genocide.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, said bodies found in areas recently recaptured from Russia showed “despicable attacks against innocent civilians, and they are yet more evidence that Putin and his army are committing what appear to be war crimes in Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and some Western leaders have accused Russia of committing genocide.

Blain said “the prime minister’s view is that Putin crossed the threshold of barbarism some time ago,” but added that only a court can make a determination of genocide.

Britain is urging Western allies to enforce tougher sanctions to “ratchet up” pressure on Russia, including cutting it off completely from the SWIFT international payments system.


MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated the Moscow-friendly leaders of Hungary and Serbia on winning elections.

In a letter sent Monday to Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban whose right-wing Fidesz party won a landslide victory in Sunday’s vote, Putin said that “despite the difficult international situation, the further development of bilateral partnership fully conforms to the interests of peoples of Russia and Hungary,” according to the Kremlin.

Putin also congratulated Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on his re-election Sunday, saying that the outcome of the vote confirms a “broad public support” for his independent foreign policies. The Russian leader voiced hope that Vucic’s activities will help further strengthen the “strategic partnership” between Russia and Serbia.


MOSCOW — Russia’s top diplomat has dismissed Ukraine’s accusations that Russian troops committed atrocities against its civilians as a staged provocation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the start of his talks Monday with UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths that Moscow sees the Ukrainian claim of a massacre of civilians in Bucha outside Kyiv as “a provocation that posed a direct threat to global peace and security.”

Lavrov noted that Russia has called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council but the U.K. that currently chairs it refused to convene it. He vowed to press the demand for holding the meeting.

Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the Ukrainian capital after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops, many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture. A growing number of world leaders have voiced outrage and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Lavrov charged that the mayor of Bucha made no mention of atrocities against civilians a day after Russian troops left Bucha on Wednesday, but two days later scores of bodies were photographed scattered in the streets in what the Russian minister described as a “stage-managed anti-Russian provocation.”


TIRANA, Albania — The leaders of Albania and Kosovo have harshly condemned what they say is evidence of brutal killings of Ukrainian civilians by Russian troops and urged the world to hold Russia accountable.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the bodies found after Russian soldiers left Bucha, near Kyiv, are “shocking” and strongly urged for an independent investigation “of such horrible crimes.”

“Nothing can ever excuse such cruelty. What a pain and what a shame!” he tweeted.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti said the bodies found in Bucha reminded him of similar atrocities committed in his country during the 1998-1999 war between ethnic Albanian independent fighters and Serbian forces.

“Mass graves, people brutally killed with body parts missing, burned houses and cities turned to rubble are all familiar scenes from genocidal regimes,” he posted Monday on Twitter.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, nine years after a bloody conflict between Serbia and Albanian separatists in Kosovo, then a Serbian province, which killed more than 12,000 people and left about 1,600 still missing.

“The perpetrators of the Bucha Massacre must be brought to justice and Russia must be held accountable,” he said.

Both Albania and Kosovo have joined calls for hard-hitting sanctions on Russia to be imposed by the European Union and the United States.


MOSCOW — The Kremlin has strongly rejected the accusations that Russian troops committed atrocities against civilians in Ukraine and pushed for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that the Ukrainian claims that Russian troops had killed hundreds of civilians outside Kyiv can’t be trusted, adding that “we categorically reject the accusations.” Peskov’s comment in a conference call with reporters followed the Russian Defence Ministry’s statement accusing the Ukrainian authorities of stage-managing what it described as a “provocation” to smear Russia.

Ukrainian authorities have said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the Ukrainian capital after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops, many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture. International leaders have condemned the reported atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Peskov said that photo and video materials from the area reflected unspecified “manipulations” and urged international leaders to carefully analyze the facts and hear the Russian arguments before rushing to blame Moscow.

Russia has called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council but the U.K. which currently chairs it refused to convene it, according to Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian envoy at the international organization’s offices in Vienna.

Peskov said that Russia will keep pushing for the meeting, noting that Russia wants the issue to be discussed at the highest level.


MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says Russian troops’ alleged atrocities against civilians in Ukraine should be judged in an international court and may amount to genocide.

Sanchez said Monday: “I hope that everything possible can be done so that those behind these war crimes don’t go unpunished, and that they can appear before the courts, in this case the International Criminal Court, to answer these alleged cases of crimes against humanity, war crimes and, why not say it, of genocide, too.”

He was speaking at an economic forum in Madrid after Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the capital Kyiv after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops. Many had their hands bound, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture.

Sanchez said he felt indignation at “the horror of these deaths that we have seen in recent days.”

Also in Spain on Monday U.S. federal agents and Spain’s Civil Guard searched a yacht owned by a Russian oligarch that was docked on a Spanish island.

The law enforcement officers boarded the yacht at the Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Associated Press reporters at the scene saw police going in and out of the boat on Monday morning.

A Civil Guard source told The Associated Press that the yacht named Tango is a 78-metre (254-feet) vessel that carries Cook Islands flag and that Superyachtfan.com, a specialized website that tracks the world’s largest and most exclusive recreational boats, values it at $120 million. The source was not authorized to be named in media reports and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

The yacht is among the assets linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and close ally with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate encompassing metals, mining, tech and other assets, according to U.S. Treasury Department documents. All of Vekselberg’s assets in the U.S. are frozen and U.S. companies are forbidden from doing business with him and his entities.


BRUSSELS — The European Union’s top diplomat has joined a growing chorus of international criticism blaming the Russian armed forces for alleged atrocities committed against civilians in Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says “the Russian authorities are responsible for these atrocities, committed while they had effective control of the area. They are subject to the international law of occupation.”

Borrell said Monday that the “haunting images of large numbers of civilian deaths and casualties, as well as destruction of civilian infrastructures show the true face of the brutal war of aggression Russia is waging against Ukraine and its people.”

Working with the U.S., U.K. and other international partners, the EU has been ramping up sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February. Borrell says the 27-country bloc “will advance, as a matter of urgency, work on further sanctions against Russia.”


WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s prime minister has described Russia as a “totalitarian fascist” state that has carried out atrocities against civilians in Ukraine.

Mateusz Morawiecki called Monday for an international commission to be formed to investigate the evidence emerging that Russian soldiers carried out executions of Ukrainian civilians.

“Russia is already a totalitarian-fascist state today,” Mateusz Morawiecki said at a news conference in Warsaw.

“The bloody massacres perpetrated by Russian soldiers deserve to be called by name: This is genocide and this crime must be tried as the crime of genocide,” Morawiecki said.

He called on other Western powers to impose even heavier sanctions on Russia in order to weaken its war machine, saying that Germany in particular should do more to support sanctions.


COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Estonia Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the photos of bodies scattered in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv “recall the mass killings by Soviet and Nazi regimes.”

“This is not a battlefield, it’s a crime scene. Mass killings of Ukrainian civilians by .Russia are clear war crime,” Kallas said on Twitter and called for “a 5th round of strong EU sanctions as soon as possible.”

The Baltic country’s Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said the pictures from Bucha are “appalling,” the Baltic News Service reported.


PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron condemned “with utmost strength” the reported torture and killings of Ukrainian civilians by Russian troops in an interview Monday on France-Inter radio.

“There is clear evidence of war crimes. It was the Russian army that was in Bucha,” Macron said. “We have told Ukrainian authorities that we were at their disposal to help with the investigation they’re carrying out. International justice must prevail. Those who committed these crimes will have to answer for them.”

Macron joined leaders from around the world who are calling for stronger sanctions in response to the reports.

“What just happened in Bucha calls for a new round of sanctions and very clear measures. We will coordinate with our European partners, especially Germany and we will take further individual measures,” Macron said. “In particular on coal and petrol, we need to act.”

“It is our collective dignity and it is our values that we need to defend,” he added.


LONDON — Britain’s Defence Ministry says Russia is continuing to build up both its soldiers and mercenaries in eastern Ukraine.

“Russian forces are continuing to consolidate and reorganize as they refocus their offensive into the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine,” the ministry said in an intelligence update posted on social media Monday.

It says Russian troops are being moved into the area, along with mercenaries from the Wagner private military group.

Overnight, the U.K. said Russia was still trying to take the southern port city of Mariupol, which has seen weeks of intense fighting. It said “the city continues to be subject to intense, indiscriminate strikes, but Ukrainian Forces maintain a staunch resistance, retaining control in central areas.”

The update added that “Mariupol is almost certainly a key objective of the Russian invasion as it will secure a land corridor from Russia to the occupied territory of Crimea,” which it annexed in 2014.


KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the country will conduct a probe into alleged atrocities against civilians by Russian troops involving international investigators.

Zelenskyy said in an address that “the world has seen many war crimes,” adding that “the time has come to make the war crimes committed by Russian troops the last such evil on Earth.” He said that a special justice mechanism will be created to investigate the Russian atrocities with participation of international prosecutors and judges.

Ukrainian authorities have said that the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the Ukrainian capital after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops — many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture. International leaders have condemned the reported atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Russia has rejected the accusations of killing civilians as a “provocation” by Ukrainian authorities and initiated a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue.


TOKYO — Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said he was “deeply shocked” by Russia’s alleged attacks on civilians in the Ukrainian towns and called for firm investigations by the International Criminal Court over Moscow’s “war crimes,” echoing Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s earlier condemnation of the reported attacks “as violation to international law.”

“We are deeply shocked by revelations of Russia’s extremely ghastly actions that victimized many Ukrainian citizens,” Matsuno told reporters Monday. “Attacks on innocent citizens violate international human rights law and are absolutely unforgivable.”

Matsuno noted that Tokyo had filed a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court against Russia over its war on Ukraine in March and that Japan expects the court to fully investigate the “war crimes” allegedly committed by Moscow.

Matsuno said Japan will continue to cooperate with the other members of the Group of Seven advanced economies and the international society in possible further sanctions against Russia, but he did not elaborate.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday described reports of rape and other atrocities by Russian troops in Ukraine as “reprehensible.”

Bodies with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture lay scattered in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian soldiers withdrew from the area. Ukrainian authorities accused the departing forces on Sunday of committing war crimes and leaving behind a “scene from a horror movie.”

“The reports of Ukrainian civilians who have been killed, raped and severely wounded by Russian troops is beyond reprehensible,” Ardern told reporters in the New Zealand capital Wellington.

“Russia must answer to the world for what they’ve done,” she said.

She said her Cabinet considered on Monday further measures New Zealand could take to support Ukraine and send a strong message to Russia. Further details would be outlined this week.

“Certainly, what we as an international community are seeing are evidence of war crimes at the hands of Russia,” Ardern said.

“Ultimately it is for the International Criminal Court to make that determination, but the evidence is there and New Zealand is supporting the prosecutors in gathering that evidence and making sure that Russia is held to account,” she added.


LAS VEGAS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appeared in a video at the Grammy Awards asking for support in telling the story of Ukraine’s invasion by Russia.

During the pre-recorded message that aired on the show Sunday night, he spoke in English, likening the attack to a deadly silence threatening to extinguish the dreams and lives of the Ukrainian people, including children.

In his words: “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.”

The Recording Academy, with its partner Global Citizen, prior to the ceremony highlighted a social media campaign called “Stand Up For Ukraine” to raise money and humanitarian support.

Zelenskyy told the audience: “Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV, support us in any way you can any, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities.”

Following Zelenskyy’s message, John Legend performed his song “Free” with Ukrainian musicians Siuzanna Iglidan and Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk as images from the war were shown on screens behind them.


KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian troops.

Iryna Venediktova says on Facebook that the bodies were recovered Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She says 140 of them have undergone examination by prosecutors and other specialists.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says the mayor of the village of Motyzhyn in the Kyiv region was murdered while being held by Russian forces. Vereshchuk adds that there are 11 mayors and community heads in Russian captivity across Ukraine.

In a video address Sunday, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the allegedly targeted killings of civilians in towns that the Russians occupied, calling the killers “freaks who do not know how to do otherwise.” He warns that more atrocities may be revealed if Russian forces are driven out of other occupied areas.

International leaders have condemned the reported attacks in the Kyiv-area towns after harrowing accounts from civilians and graphic images of bodies with hands tied behind their backs.

Russia’s Defence Ministry has rejected the claims of atrocities against civilians in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv.


Get in touch

Do you have any questions about the attack on Ukraine? Email dotcom@bellmedia.ca.

Please include your name, location, and contact information if you are willing to speak to a journalist with CTV News.

Your comments may be used in a CTVNews.ca story.


This was corrected to show that Serbian president’s name is spelled Aleksandar.