Ukraine files first war crimes charges against Russia over Bucha killings – POLITICO

Ukrainian authorities on Thursday filed criminal charges against Russian soldiers allegedly involved in mass killings in Bucha – the first time the country has officially brought a war crimes case against Moscow’s armed forces.

This was announced by the chief prosecutor of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova a Facebook post that they had brought charges against 10 Russian soldiers of the 64th Independent Motor Rifle Brigade. “In a very brief investigation, prosecutors found that they captured, starved and tortured unarmed civilians during the occupation of Bucha,” she wrote, while also accusing the soldiers of robbing local residents.

Venediktova also claimed that the soldiers tied up residents, hit them with rifle butts and threatened to kill them.

After Russian troops pulled out of Bucha, a town outside of Kyiv, authorities discovered streets lined with the bodies of civilians who appeared to have been tied up and shot at point-blank range, as well as mass graves of local residents. Ukrainian officials have said that more than 350 civilians were killed in the city with around 30,000 inhabitants. POLITICO could not independently verify the allegations.

Russia has repeatedly denied being responsible, however numerous media have independently shown that the scenes are unlikely to have been staged by Ukraine. Moscow has described the scenes in Bucha as “provocations” staged by Ukrainians, while Russian President Vladimir Putin branded the killings as “fake”.

The charges have been filed domestically and all trials against Russian soldiers will take place in Ukrainemeaning that the Kiev authorities could later issue international arrest warrants for the men.

Earlier this month, Putin self saluted soldiers of the 64th Brigade and awarded them the honorary title “Guards”. Venediktova argued the ceremony was “proof that the Bucha atrocities were a task they administered from above”.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres – who is on a two-day trip to Ukraine after he met with Putin in the Kremlin — supports calls for an independent investigation into the Bucha killings.

“When we visit this horrible site, I feel how important it is [to have] a thorough investigation and accountability,” he said. “I am glad that the International Criminal Court exists [aware] of the situation … and I appeal to the Russian Federation to accept cooperation with the International Criminal Court. “

Bucha City Council did not immediately respond to POLITICO requests for comment. Ukraine files first war crimes charges against Russia over Bucha killings - POLITICO

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