Canada condemns Russia for ‘murder of civilians’ in Bucha, will hold regime accountable

Click to play video: 'Devastation left in Ukraine as Russia’s troops withdraw from Kyiv'
Devastation left in Ukraine as Russia’s troops withdraw from Kyiv
WATCH ABOVE: Devastation left in Ukraine as Russia’s troops withdraw from Kyiv – Apr 2, 2022

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders condemned Russia on Sunday for its recent attack on the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where reportedly 300 civilians were killed.

The Associated Press reported that brutalized bodies were found by Ukrainian troops in Bucha, a small city northwest of Kyiv as Russian soldiers withdrew and focused their attacks elsewhere.

Missile strikes targeted fuel supplies in Odessa and ammunition supplies near the city of Mykolaiv on Sunday.

A mass grave has been identified in the town of Bucha, Ukraine, northwest of the capital of Kyiv. Recent Maxar satellite imagery reveals that the first signs of excavation were seen on March 10th on the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints. More recent coverage on March 31st shows the grave site with an approximately 45-foot long trench in the southwestern section of the area near the church. Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Read more: Ukraine decries alleged atrocities by Russian troops in Bucha: ‘Horror movie’

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“We strongly condemn the murder of civilians in Ukraine, remain committed to holding the Russian regime accountable, and will continue to do everything we can to support the people of Ukraine,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet on Sunday.

“Those responsible for these egregious and appalling attacks will be brought to justice,” he added.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly released a statement on Twitter calling the soldiers’ actions “shocking” and a “senseless murder of innocent civilians.”

“Canada will not spare any effort, including investigations of war crimes, to ensure that those responsible are held to account,” Joly said.

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Ukraine also said they found 410 bodies in towns near Kyiv as part of an investigation into possible war crimes by Russia. Some witnesses were so traumatized they are unable to speak.

Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venedyktova said, “We need to work with witnesses.”

“People today are so stressed that they are physically unable to speak.”

She said 140 of the bodies had been examined so far. She will be asking the health ministry to provide as many forensic experts as possible to staff a field hospital in Kyiv region.

Read more: Ukraine demands new sanctions on Russia over ‘massacre’ in Bucha

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy said it was clear hundreds of civilians had been killed, but he did not want to say exactly how many there were. Efforts were still under way to clear mines in the area.

“Many local residents are considered missing. We cannot give an exact figure, but there are a lot of people,” he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said on Sunday he was “deeply shocked” by images of dead civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, and he called for an independent investigation that “leads to effective accountability.”

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Guterres posted his comments on Twitter a day after witnesses and officials reported the attack.

“I am deeply shocked by the images of civilians killed in Bucha, Ukraine,” Guterres said, joining Western officials in expressing outrage. “It is essential that an independent investigation leads to effective accountability,” he said.

The hand of a corpse buried along with other bodies is seen in a mass grave in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd). RA
A mass grave in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. Ukrainian troops are finding brutalized bodies and widespread destruction in the suburbs of Kyiv, sparking new calls for a war crimes investigation and sanctions against Russia. Rodrigo Abd/AP
A woman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
A woman hugs a Ukrainian serviceman after a convoy of military and aid vehicles arrived in the formerly Russian-occupied Kyiv suburb of Bucha, Ukraine, Saturday, April 2, 2022. As Russian forces pull back from Ukraine's capital region, retreating troops are creating a "catastrophic" situation for civilians by leaving mines around homes, abandoned equipment and "even the bodies of those killed," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Saturday.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda). VG

Germany said that the west would agree to impose more sanctions on Russia in the coming days, ratcheting up the already vast economic pressure on the country over its invasion of Ukraine.

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Russia’s economy is facing its gravest crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, after sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies.

“Putin and his supporters will feel the consequences” of their actions, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement Sunday to reporters.

Click to play video: 'Ukraine formally asks Canada for more weapons'
Ukraine formally asks Canada for more weapons

Russia, however, denied its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the town of Bucha and said that Ukraine had staged it as a performance for the western media.

“All the photos and videos published by the Kyiv regime, allegedly testifying to the ‘crimes’ of Russian servicemen in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region, are another provocation,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement.

The Russian defence ministry said that all Russian military units had left Bucha on March 30, and that civilians had been free to move around the town or evacuate while it was under Russian control.

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“During the time that Russian armed forces were in control of this settlement, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions,” it said.

Russia has also requested that the United Nations Security Council convene on Monday to discuss what it called a “provocation by Ukrainian radicals” in the town of Bucha after Kyiv accused Russian troops of killing civilians there.

“In light of the blatant provocation by Ukrainian radicals in Bucha, Russia has demanded that a meeting of the U.N. security council be convened,” Dmitry Polansky, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, wrote on the Telegram messenger app.

Click to play video: 'Russia to increase use of alternative trade currencies to get around sanctions: Lavrov'
Russia to increase use of alternative trade currencies to get around sanctions: Lavrov

Meanwhile, the United States said those responsible for any war crimes must be held responsible. Britain said it was stepping up its sanctions against Russia. France condemned “massive abuses” by Russian forces in Ukraine.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “despicable attacks against civilians” in Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv were evidence that Russia was committing war crimes in Ukraine.

“I will do everything in my power to starve (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war machine,” Johnson said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are stepping up our sanctions and military support, as well as bolstering our humanitarian support package to help those in need on the ground.”

— With files from The Associated Press and Reuters 

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