BUCHA: President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday it had become harder for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia since Kyiv became aware of the scale of alleged atrocities carried out by Russian troops in Ukraine.
Zelenskiy spoke on national television from the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, where tied bodies shot at close range, a mass grave and other signs of executions have been found in territory retaken from Russian troops.
The Kremlin has denied any accusations related to the killing of civilians in Bucha.
“These are war crimes and will be recognised by the world as genocide,” Zelenskiy said, wearing body armour and surrounded by military personnel.
“It’s very difficult to talk when you see what they’ve done here,” he said. “The longer the Russian Federation drags out the meeting process, the worse it is for them and for this situation and for this war.”
“We know of thousands of people killed and tortured, with severed limbs, raped women and murdered children,” he said.
Russia denies targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarising and “denazifying” Ukraine. Ukraine says it was invaded without provocation.
The destruction and civilian deaths in Bucha looks set to galvanise the United States and Europe into additional sanctions against Moscow, with officials raising the prospect of restrictions on Russia’s energy exports.