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Nearly 300 people were buried in mass graves in Bucha, where the streets are ‘littered with corpses,’ a Ukrainian mayor said

  • Nearly 300 people have been buried in mass graves in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, the town’s mayor said on Saturday. 
  • Bucha stands just outside of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, a target of the Russian invaders.
  • On Sunday, the US embassy in Kyiv said the images from Bucha were “horrific” and called for action.

Nearly 300 people have been buried in mass graves in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, just outside of Kyiv, the town’s mayor said. 

“In Bucha, we have already buried 280 people in mass graves,” Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told AFP News Agency by phone. Fedoruk said the streets are “littered with corpses,” according to the news agency.

AFP journalists reported earlier on Saturday that they saw at least 20 bodies in civilian clothes laying on a single street in Bucha. 

“Corpses of executed people still line the Yabluska street in Bucha. Their hands are tied behind their backs with white ‘civilian’ rags, they were shot in the back of their heads. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they perpetrated here,” Bucha mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk told Reuters, according to CNN.

The US embassy in Kyiv called the images from Bucha “horrific.”

“The U.S. government is committed to pursuing accountability using every tool available. We can not stand quiet, the world needs to know what happened, and we all must act,” the embassy said in a tweeted statement.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of “genocide” and war crimes.

“Indeed, this is genocide,” Zelenskyy said on Sunday. “The elimination of the whole nation and the people. We are the citizens of Ukraine we have over 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities.”

The European Union condemned “atrocities” by Russian forces following reports of mass casualties in Bucha. 

“Shocked by news of atrocities committed by Russian forces. EU assists Ukraine in documenting war crimes,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted on Sunday. He added that the “EU assists Ukraine in documenting war crimes” and “all cases must be pursued.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the International Criminal Court to visit Bucha “to collect all the evidence of these war crimes,” the Washington Post reported

Russian forces have been trying to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv since the invasion began on February 24, but have been met with fierce resistance across the country. The death toll has been high on both sides, prompting the use of mass graves in other Ukrainian cities, such as Mariupol.

Last week, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that it would reduce its military assaults on Kyiv, although the United States has remained skeptical of those claims. Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said on Saturday that the country had regained control of the “whole Kyiv region,” per AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Saturday that retreating Russian troops were leaving mines around Ukrainian homes and “even the bodies of those killed,” creating a “catastrophic” situation for civilians, the Associated Press reported. 

“It’s still not possible to return to normal life, as it used to be, even at the territories that we are taking back after the fighting,” Zelenskyy said, per AP. “We need wait until our land is demined, wait till we are able to assure you that there won’t be new shelling.”