Ukraine’s Prosecutor General said 410 bodies were found in towns recovered from retreating Russian forces near Kyiv as part of an investigation into possible war crimes, according to a Reuters report. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Irina Venediktova, said some of the alleged witnesses were so traumatized by their ordeal that they could not yet speak.
The mayor of Bucha, a town 23 miles northwest of Kyiv that was liberated by Ukrainian forces, told Reuters that 300 residents were killed while Chechen fighters controlled the area.
Russia has denied allegations of its soldiers killing civilians in Bucha. Venediktova said Ukrainian prosecutors were only able to enter the towns of Bucha, Irbin and Hostomil for the first time on Sunday and they needed more time to find out the extent of the crimes.
“We need to work with witnesses,” she said, according to Reuters. “People today are so stressed out that they are physically unable to speak.”
For his part, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denis Monastirsky reportedly said that it was clear that hundreds of civilians had been killed, but he did not want to specify the exact number of dead.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of committing genocide against the Ukrainian people, saying in an interview: “We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of those nationalities.”
Zelensky made the remarks after warning that the forces wanted to control the east and south of the country. He also said that Ukrainian forces had regained control of the communities in Kyiv and Chernihiv.
Zelensky also called for a ceasefire before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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