How Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the shocking images of at least 20 civilian men’s bodies strewn across the street in Bucha, northwest of the capital of Kyiv, following the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area.
Accounts of alleged Russian atrocities, including the horrific images of dead civilians captured by Agence France-Presse, are emerging as its forces retreat from areas near Kyiv following a failed bid to encircle the capital.
“The elimination of the whole nation, and the people. We are the citizens of Ukraine. We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities,” Zelensky said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” when asked if Russia is carrying out genocide.
CNN has not been able to independently confirm the details of the men’s deaths.
Russia responds. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed the extensive footage of dead bodies in Bucha was “fake,” saying “not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions,” during Russia’s occupation of Bucha.
“In the settlements of the Kiev region, Russian military personnel delivered and issued 452 tons of humanitarian aid to civilians,” it said in a statement. A separate statement claimed the footage was staged.
The Russian government has consistently responded to allegations of civilian casualties inflicted by Russian forces with blanket denials.
CNN team observes a mass gravesite. A mass grave has been discovered in the town of Bucha, CNN found. CNN saw at least a dozen bodies in body bags piled inside the grave. Some were already partially covered.
Bodies were first buried in the grave, on the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints, in the first days of the war, residents told CNN. Around 150 people, mostly civilians killed in the fighting around the town, are buried there, residents said. The mayor of Bucha said in public remarks on Saturday that there could be up to 300 victims buried on site. CNN was unable to independently verify those numbers or the identities and nationalities of those buried in the grave.