Images of mass graves and reports of civilians in horrific manners circulated throughout social media on Sunday as Ukraine’s top prosecutor Iryna Venedyktova claims that officials have found at least 410 bodies in towns surrounding Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area.
Russia has denied accusations that its troops have killed civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, where the mayor said that 300 residents have been killed. The Kremlin’s United Nations diplomat Dmitry Polyanskiy on Sunday blamed “Ukrainian radicals’ provocation” for the images of dead civilians.
Venedyktova said prosecutors “need to work with witnesses,” but they are extremely traumatized.
“People today are so stressed that they are physically unable to speak,” she said, Reuters reported.
Kyiv Regional Police stated that they believe at least 150 people have been buried in a mass grave in Bucha, a town with a population of just over 35,000 people. Authorities told CNN that they are concerned the overall death toll will rise as more bodies are recovered from the rubble.
Satellite images from Maxar Technologies show that the mass graves were first dug on March 10 by a church in Bucha.
Ukrainian journalist Yevhen Spirin reported that some of the children who were killed also had their hands tied and there was evidence of young girls being raped, Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun stated.
“Mothers of Russian soldiers should see that. See what bastards you’ve raised. Murderers, looters, butchers,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after seeing the photos from Bucha, The Kyiv Independent reported.
He called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “genocide” on Sunday.
The international community met the reports out of Bucha with outcry.
“We strongly condemn apparent atrocities by Kremlin forces in Bucha and across Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted. “We are pursuing accountability using every tool available, documenting and sharing information to hold accountable those responsible.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., called for the United States to kick out the Russian ambassador, to sanction all Russian banks and to give the Ukrainians all requested weapons.
“Russia’s despicable attacks against innocent civilians in Irpin and Bucha are yet more evidence that Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, adding that he will do everything possible to “starve Putin’s war machine.”
“It is impossible to remain indifferent in the face of the horrific images from the city of Bucha near Kiev, from after the Russian army left,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. “Intentionally harming a civilian population is a war crime, and I strongly condemn it.”
Israel has remained neutral in the conflict so far and even invited Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin to Jerusalem for peace negotiations.