Bodies lie on a street in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, as Ukraine says Russian forces are making a (AFP/Ronaldo Schemidt)
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of engaging in ‘genocide’ after mass graves and at least 280 people found dead in a commuter city outside Kyiv as Russian troops fled the outskirts of the capital city.
The Ukrainian leader, while speaking to CBS News’ Face the Nation in a live virtual interview on Sunday, vowed that he will only accept a full withdrawal of Russian forces from all of Ukraine – including resource-rich areas in the east, for de-occupation to be successful.
“The guns of the cannons of the tanks cannot dictate us or what the future will be for Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said.
Zelenskyy further stressed that he will be willing to sit down with Putin again, only if there is a ceasefire in place and Russian troops leave Ukraine, adding that the world cannot expect him to have further discussions with the authoritarian leader while his troops still actively attacked his country.
“First the ceasefire, then we can have a meeting with [the] Russian President if they have an approach,” he added.
Russia continues to face mounting international condemnation amid reports of possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and other parts of Ukraine.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement that her government has seen “increasing evidence of appalling acts by the invading forces in towns such as Irpin and Bucha.”
“The Ukrainian city of Bucha was in the hands of Russian animals for several weeks. Local civilians were being executed arbitrarily, some with hands tied behind their backs, their bodies scattered in the streets of the city,” Ukraine Defense department wrote on Twitter.
Ukrainians accused Russia of more war crimes, including booby-trapping corpses and executing civilians.
The Human Rights Watch report included numerous allegations of rapes, two cases of summary executions involving seven victims, and other instances of threats and violence against civilians.
“The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” Hugh Williamson, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia director, said.