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WASHINGTON: President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of committing genocide and attempting to eliminate the “whole nation” of Ukraine, a day after the discovery of mass graves and apparently executed civilians near Kyiv.

“This is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people,” Zelensky told the CBS program Face the Nation, according to a transcript provided by the network.

“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 amid a chorus of international outrage over the behavior of Russian troops in Ukraine.

Ukraine claims Kyiv region as Russian pullback reveals horror

Three days after the invasion started on February 24, Ukraine filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice in The Hague accusing Russia of “planning acts of genocide.”

In the interview aired on Sunday – after footage aired around the world of civilian bodies littering the streets of the town of Bucha near Kyiv, and a Ukrainian official said 280 bodies were buried in a mass grave there – Zelensky seemed to go further.

“We are citizens of Ukraine and we don’t want to be subdued to the policy of Russian Federation. This is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated,” Zelensky said, according to the CBS transcript.

“And this is happening in the Europe of the 21st century. So this is the torture of the whole nation,” he added.

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