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Canada joins calls to remove Russia from UN Human Rights Council over ‘heinous’ acts

Click to play video: 'Growing evidence contradicts Russia’s denials of mass slaughter in Bucha' Growing evidence contradicts Russia’s denials of mass slaughter in Bucha
WATCH: WARNING - This video contains disturbing content. Viewer discretion is advised. Western allies are ramping up sanctions against Moscow as it denies Russian forces killed hundreds of innocent civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, despite the mounting evidence. Redmond Shannon looks at how British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin, and how the European Union has issued another round of sanctions – Apr 5, 2022

Canada has joined its allies calling for Russia to be suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over the war in Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said on Tuesday that Russia should not sit on the council due to “war crimes” it’s reportedly committed since invading Ukraine on Feb. 24.

“With ongoing reports of heinous acts of violence and war crimes at the hands of Russian forces, Russia’s utter disregard for human rights could not be any clearer,” Joly said on Twitter.

“Russia has no place on the UNHRC.”

Read more: What happened in Bucha, Ukraine? Here’s what you need to know

The United States is leading the push to suspend Russia from the UNHRC following the apparent discovery of murdered civilians in Kyiv’s suburbs over the weekend.

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Ukrainian forces found bodies scattered in the streets of Bucha, a suburb of Kviv. Some were found with evidence indicating they’d been killed at close range.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: UN secretary general calls for independent investigation into killing of civilians in Bucha' Russia-Ukraine conflict: UN secretary general calls for independent investigation into killing of civilians in Bucha
Russia-Ukraine conflict: UN secretary general calls for independent investigation into killing of civilians in Bucha – Apr 5, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian troops of committing “the most terrible war crimes” since the Second World War when he addressed the UN Security Council on Tuesday. Russia has rejected the accusations.

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Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, aims to have the General Assembly vote on its request next week. A two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member assembly in New York can suspend a state for persistently committing gross and systematic violations of human rights.

“Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council is a farce,” Thomas-Greenfield said on a recent visit to Romania.

“And it is wrong, which is why we believe it is time the UN General Assembly vote to remove them.”

Since launching its invasion on Feb. 24, Russia has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine. Kyiv has claimed otherwise, citing the discoveries in Bucha as the latest example.

Click to play video: 'Zelenskyy takes aim at Russian propaganda on Bucha during UNSC address: ‘There are satellite images’' Zelenskyy takes aim at Russian propaganda on Bucha during UNSC address: ‘There are satellite images’
Zelenskyy takes aim at Russian propaganda on Bucha during UNSC address: ‘There are satellite images’ – Apr 5, 2022

The country’s foreign minister said on Monday that Bucha is likely the tip of the iceberg, and the head of the NATO military alliance feared the same as stated on Tuesday.

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Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a two-day NATO foreign ministers meeting Russia is responsible for the atrocities in Kyiv’s suburbs.

“I’m afraid that we’ll see more — more examples of killings of civilians, more examples of atrocities and more examples of targeted killings of civilians,” he said.

“I think we haven’t seen everything that has taken place because Russia still controls most of these territories. But when and if they withdraw their troops, and Ukraine troops take over, I’m afraid they’ll see more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of war crimes.”

A young boy gives an offering of food at his mother’s grave as his younger brother and a neighbour stand near on April 4 in the town of Bucha. Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Click to play video: 'Zelenskyy questions UN’s purpose if it won’t take action against Russia' Zelenskyy questions UN’s purpose if it won’t take action against Russia
Zelenskyy questions UN’s purpose if it won’t take action against Russia – Apr 5, 2022

Stoltenberg added NATO allies are providing support to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to help in war crimes probes.

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NATO expects Russia to launch a major offensive in the eastern Donbas region in the coming weeks, where fighting has been ongoing for eight years.

Russia hopes to control the entire area and create a land bridge with Crimea, which is annexed in 2014, Stoltenberg said.

Read more: Canada to punish ‘close associates’ of Russia, Belarus with new sanctions

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February in what it called a ‘special military operation’ to diminish its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and rid people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed serious sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw.

Peace talks have been ongoing since the conflict began, but a solution has not been reached.

— with files from Reuters.

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