Ottawa will summon Russia’s ambassador over the reported massacre of civilians Kyiv’s suburbs, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says.
Joly told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday that the ambassador will be shown photos of what happened in the Ukrainian capital’s outskirts.
“Canada is very seized with what happened over the weekend, like mentioned. I instructed my deputy minister to summon the Russian ambassador in Ottawa to make sure he is presented with the images of what happened in Irpin and Bucha,” Joly said.
“There’s a level of inhumanity in what we’ve seen in Bucha.”
Oleg V. Stepanov, Russia’s ambassador to Canada, was previously summoned on Feb. 24 – the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Joly used the opportunity to directly express her condemnation of the war.
World leaders have expressed outrage over the discoveries of what appears to be murdered civilians in Kyiv’s suburbs, which Ukrainian forces re-entered over the weekend following Russian occupation.
In Bucha — a town of roughly 35,000 — Ukrainian troops and journalists saw bodies of what appeared to be civilians in the streets, some with evidence suggesting they were killed at close range.
Taras Shapravskyi, deputy mayor of Bucha, has said 50 of some 300 bodies found were the victims of extra-judicial killings carried out by the Russians.
Irpin saw some of the fiercest battles in Kyiv’s outskirts, and Russian troops “left behind them many bodies, many destroyed buildings, and they mined many places,” Mayor Oleksandr Merkushev previously told The Associated Press.
Russia has denied all accusations of war crimes.
The reports sparked the West to introduce new sanctions on Wednesday. The United States targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adult daughters in new penalties, and banned Americans from investing in Russia.
Joly is in Belgium meeting with NATO foreign ministers to discuss the alliance’s response to the war. The meeting will continue on Thursday.
Canada will not let reported atrocities go unpunished, Joly vowed.
“That’s exactly why Canada is petitioning the International Criminal Court and we’re also providing expertise to make sure the investigation is ongoing and ongoing fast. Why? Because we need to collect the evidence and those who committed these war crimes and crimes against humanity must be held to account,” she said.
“Our goal is to make sure Ukrainians are able to defend themselves and that we’re putting maximum pressure on the Russian regime. Our goal is to suffocate the Russian regime.”
Canada on Tuesday imposed sanctions on nine Russians and nine Belarusians for “having facilitated and enabled violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.”
Canada also joined its allies calling for Russia to be suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council over the war in Ukraine.
The United Nations General Assembly is due to vote on the request on Thursday.
— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters.