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Volodymyr Zelensky made the claims amid global outcry at the conduct of Vladimir Putin’s forces in a town near Kyiv.
Pictures of countless civilian victims lying dead in the streets of Bucha have horrified observers.
Their bodies are said to have been mutilated and booby-trapped, with the extent of the violence being unveiled as Russian troops retreated.
Ukraine is demanding crippling new sanctions on Russia from major Western powers as Boris Johnson condemned the scenes and Germany said that those responsible for war crimes should pay.
Ukraine said on Saturday that its forces had retaken all areas around Kyiv, including Bucha 23 miles northwest, as the devastation emerged.
The commuter town’s mayor said that 300 of its residents had been killed by the Russian army.
Asked about whether Russia’s conduct should be considered genocide, President Zelensky told CBS that it should be.
‘This is about the elimination of the whole nation and the people’, he said in an interview on Sunday with the ‘Face the Nation; news program.
Speaking through a translator, he added: ‘We are the citizens of Ukraine and we don’t want to be subdued to the policy of Russian Federation.
‘This is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated.
‘This is happening in the Europe of the 21st century so this is the torture of the whole nation.’
The UK Prime Minister Mr Johnson condemned Russia’s ‘despicable attacks’
against Ukrainian civilians in Bucha and Irpin, adding that ‘we will not rest
until justice is served’.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defence Ministry has claimed all the photographs and footage related to Bucha are a ‘provocation’.
Moscow denied Ukrainian allegations that it had killed civilians in Bucha and has repeatedly denied suggestions that it is committing war crimes.
But Western nations appear to have given up on believing Russia’s claims about the war and responded to the latest developments with outrage.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the images as a ‘punch in the gut’ in an interview with CNN.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned what he called the ‘massive abuses’ committed by Russian forces and said Paris would work with Ukraine and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to put those responsible on trial.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tweeted: ‘The images from Bucha are unbearable, Putin’s uninhibited violence is extinguishing innocent families and knows no boundaries.
‘Those responsible for these war crimes must be made accountable. We will tighten the sanctions against Russia and will assist Ukraine even more in defending itself.’
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro called on the ICC to visit Bucha and other towns around Kyiv as soon as possible to work with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies to ‘thoroughly collect all evidence of Russian war crimes’ the ministry quoted him as saying.
‘We are still gathering and looking for bodies, but the number has already gone into the hundreds,’ he added. ‘Dead bodies lie on the streets. They killed civilians while staying there and when they were leaving these villages and towns.’
On his Telegram channel, he wrote: ‘Bucha massacre was deliberate.’
Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, called alongside Mr Kuleba for a wave of new measures by the Group of Seven major Western economic powers: extending sanctions to all its banks, closing ports to its ships and imposing an embargo on all trade.
‘The current sanctions are not having enough of an effect as the war is continuing,’ he said.
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