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UK slams retreating Russian troops for mass killings in Ukrainian towns

05:34 04 April 2022 Author :  

The British government on Sunday condemned the "indiscriminate killings of civilians" by retreating Russian forces in towns and cities across Ukraine. 

In a statement, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said there is increasing evidence of mass killings by retreating Russian forces in Ukrainian towns and cities such as Irpin and Bucha and has called for an international investigation into the acts that should be treated as war crimes.

“As Russian troops are forced into retreat, we are seeing increasing evidence of appalling acts by the invading forces in towns such as Irpin and Bucha. Their indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians during Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine must be investigated as war crimes,” the foreign secretary said.

“We will not allow Russia to cover up their involvement in these atrocities through cynical disinformation and will ensure that the reality of Russia’s actions is brought to light. We will not rest until those responsible for atrocities, including military commanders and individuals in the Putin regime, have faced justice,” she added.

Photographs taken in Bucha, a town liberated near the capital Kyiv, purport to show civilian bodies littered across various streets. Residents, who spoke to Sky News, said the civilians were shot dead by retreating Russian troops without any provocation. Their hands and feet were tied.

According to the Reuters news agency, a mass grave was discovered on the grounds of a church in which the hands and feet of the slain civilians were protruding from the ground. Anatolia Fedoruk, mayor of Bucha, said 300 of its residents had been killed.  

‘Probe into war crimes’

“The UK will fully support any investigations by the International Criminal Court, in its role as the primary institution with the mandate, to investigate and prosecute war crimes. The UK-led effort to expedite and support an International Criminal Court investigation into crimes in Ukraine was the largest State referral in its history,” Truss said.

“At this time, more than ever, it is essential that the international community continues to provide Ukraine with the humanitarian and military support it so dearly needs, and that we step up sanctions to cut off funding for Putin’s war machine at source,” she added.

International condemnation has grown since the discovery of the atrocities with German and French leaders condemning the killings. There are calls for international humanitarian organizations to be given access to Bucha and other towns and cities where such killings have taken place in order to investigate the nature of the atrocities and document the crimes.

The Russian war against Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, has been met with international outrage, with the EU, US, and Britain, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

At least 1,417 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,038 injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be far higher.

More than 4.2 million Ukrainians have also fled to other countries, with millions more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency./aa

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