EU leaders appalled by evidence of war crimes in formerly Russian-held areas of Ukraine

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on April 3 that she was appalled by reports of unspeakable horrors in areas of Ukraine from which Russia is withdrawing.

The BBC said that as Moscow’s forces retreat from areas near Kyiv, evidence of civilian killings was mounting.

Reporters in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, had found at least 20 bodies strewn in the streets, the report said.

“An independent investigation is urgently needed,” Von der Leyen said on Twitter. “Perpetrators of war crimes will be held accountable,” she said.

European Council President Charles Michel said that he was shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in the Kyiv liberated region.

Michel said that the EU was assisting Ukraine and NGOs in gathering of necessary evidence “for pursuit in international courts”.

“Further EU sanctions and support are on their way,” Michel said.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said on Twitter: “Appalled by atrocities of Russian army in #Bucha & other liberated areas.

“This is cold reality of Putin’s war crimes,” Metsola said.

Tougher sanctions must be imposed, and the perpetrators and their commanders must be brought to justice, she said.

Human Rights Watch said that it had documented several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations against civilians in occupied areas of the Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions of Ukraine.

“These include a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14 2022,” Human Rights Watch said.

Soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing, and firewood.

“Those who carried out these abuses are responsible for war crimes,” the organisation said, releasing its report.

(Screenshot from footage posted by Ukraine’s military on Twitter)

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