Volodymyr Zelensky has compared Russia to ISIS for their ‘war crimes’ in Bucha during a fiery speech to the Security Council today as he slammed the UN body for failing to protect Ukraine.
The president said atrocities have been carried out throughout the country, with women raped and killed in front of their families, and people captured and deported to Russia and turned into ‘slaves’ in his blistering address.
He called out the Security Council for failing to provide any security, demanding Russia’s expulsion from the global body and reform to ensure no further illegal invasions in the future.
The Ukrainian president said: ‘So where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee? It’s not there. Although there is a Security Council and so where is the peace?
‘It is obvious that the key institution of the world which must ensure the coercion of any aggressor to peace simply cannot work effectively.’
He told of civilians being run over deliberately by tanks, people’s tongues being cut out and gang rapes being committed by invading Kremlin forces in ‘the most terrible war crimes’ since WWII, as he shared a harrowing video of burnt corpses and bodies stuffed in wells to the council.
People ‘were killed in their apartments, houses… civilians were crushed by tanks while sitting in their cars in the middle of the road, just for their pleasure,’ Zelensky told the Council, including Moscow’s envoy.
The Ukrainian president said atrocities have been carried out throughout the country, with women raped and killed in front of their families
Soldiers and investigators look at charred bodies lying on the ground in Bucha today where Russia has been accused of war crimes
Russia’s envoy Vassily Nebenzia (pictured) predictably dismissed the claims as ‘lies’ as he repeated unfounded Kremlin claims about Nazis running Ukraine
The wartime leader said he feared Russians turning his people into ‘silent slaves’ as he said ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Ukrainians have been deported to Russia.
He also urged reform of the UN because the current system of global security has failed, and called on world leaders to act ‘immediately’ against Russia.
Russia’s envoy predictably dismissed the claims as ‘lies’ as he repeated unfounded Kremlin claims about Nazis running Ukraine and said allegations of atrocities have not been confirmed.
Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow places ‘on your conscience the unfounded accusations against the Russian military, which are not confirmed by any eye witnesses.’
He rejected allegations of war crimes, claiming there are ‘flagrant inconsistencies in events shown by Ukrainian and Western media’.
The diplomat repeated disproved claims that corpses found in Bucha were not there when Russia withdrew, saying: ‘The corpses in no way resemble those that could be lying on the street for three or four days.’
But satellite images shows corpses on the street nearly two weeks before the Russian departure.
Meanwhile UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to international order.
Speaking to the Security Council in New York, the UN chief said there is mounting evidence of war crimes, rapes and sexual assaults by Putin’s forces.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (pictured) has said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to international order
The Mariupol theatre lies in ruins after Russian shelling in the besieged port city
He said, referencing the piles of civilians bodies near the capital of Kyiv which emerged this weekend: ‘I will never forget the horrifying images of the civilians in Bucha.’
‘The war in Ukraine must stop – now,’ Guterres told the Council, after calling it ‘one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order.’
‘We need serious negotiations for peace, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter,’ he said.
Guterres said the war was putting even more pressure on the developing world, with more than 1.2billion people particularly vulnerable to to spiking food, energy and fertilizer costs.
‘We are already seeing some countries move from vulnerability into crisis, and signs of serious social unrest,’ he added.
UN undersecretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo told the meeting of ‘credible’ claims Russia has used indiscriminate cluster munitions two dozen times in populated parts of Ukraine.
She said: ‘OHCHR has received credible allegations that Russian forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times.’
She said the global body was ‘gravely concerned by the persistent use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area,’ saying such weapons are causing the most civilian casualties in the war.
During a visit on Monday to Bucha, where AFP counted 20 bodies on a single street, he accused Russia of ‘war crimes’ and attempted ‘genocide’ and asked Europe to apply the ‘most severe pressure’.
A mass grave was discovered in the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints in Bucha, containing the bodies of dozens of civilians
The head of NATO, meanwhile, warned that Russia is regrouping its forces in order to deploy them to eastern and southern Ukraine for a ‘crucial phase of the war,’ and said that more ‘atrocities’ may come to light as Russian troops continue to pull back in the north.
‘When and if they withdraw their troops and Ukrainian troops take over, I’m afraid they will see more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of of war crimes,’ NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Among the horrors inflicted on Bucha are a man who had his cheek cut out before being shot in the heart, another who was kidnapped and burned with a flamethrower, and a ‘torture chamber’ filled with bodies inside a children’s hospital:
Survivors of a month-long Russian occupation – endured in cold, dark silence after Putin’s troops cut off all links with the outside world – are just now starting to emerge from basements and makeshift bunkers.
Vladislav Kozlovsky, who returned to Bucha at the outbreak of war to care for his mother and grandmother, told The Telegraph how two men he knew had tried to escape through an abandoned glass factory but were found by the Russians.
One was shot in the back of the head. The other had his cheek cut out before being shot in the heart.
Tanya Nedashkivs’ka, 57, weeps in the street over the death of her husband who was found killed as Ukrainian forces liberated the city of Bucha, to the west of Kyiv, after a month under the occupation of Russian troops
Ukrainian soldiers claim to have uncovered a Russian torture chamber in the basement of a children’s hospital where five men – their hands tied behind their backs – were brutalised before being shot dead
Volodymyr Pilhutskyi, another Bucha resident, recounted how his neighbour was taken away by Russian troops because he was wearing military-style trousers which were deemed ‘suspicious’.
He was tortured and killed, Mr Pilhutskyi said, with burn marks from a flamethrower found on his body.
Ukrainian armed forces say they have now uncovered a Russian torture chamber, located inside a children’s hospital that was also being used as a makeshift barracks.
The bodies of five men were found shot to death in the basement, a spokesman said, with their hands tied behind their backs. Some had been tortured.
Graphic images taken by Ukrainian prosecutors show the bodies of the men lying on a rubble floor surrounded by pools of dried blood. At least one appears to have been shot through the kneecap.
It comes as drone footage revealed today appeared to show Russian tanks opening fire on a cyclist in Bucha.
Pictured: A Russian military vehicle (top-left) is seen in drone footage positioned on a road moments after a cyclist turned the corner into the street. The vehicle opened fire
Footage of the attack in the Kyiv Oblast town shows a man walking his bicycle up a street, apparently unaware that several Russian tanks lay in wait around the corner.
Another video purportedly showed the aftermath of the attack after Bucha was reclaimed from Moscow’s clutches in recent days. In it, a person believed to be the same man can be seen dead on the side of the road next to his bicycle.
In the first video, captured on March 3, the drone appears to be watching the Russian tank column, but the footage also tracks the man as he is walking up the road that runs through a neighbourhood of destroyed or damaged buildings.
The operator of the drone repeatedly pans upwards, showing a long queue of military vehicles – including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and trucks – positioned between buildings, on the next street over from the man.
As the cyclist continues down the street – first on his bicycle and then on foot, pushing it along side him – the drone focuses more on his movement up the road.
He is shown nearing a junction in the road and turns left down a narrower street, where an armoured vehicle and a tank are positioned around 150ft away.
As soon as he turns the corner into the side road, a flash is seen from the armoured vehicle’s turret, and a rocket is shown flying through the air.
Russia has shelled a nitric acid tank in Rubizhne as the chairman of Luhansk ordered everyone to remain inside and close their windows
A red and yellow cloud of poisonous smoke prompted warnings to residents to wear wet face masks after the suspected deliberate shelling of a dangerous chemical
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said that even though Ukraine is taking back the capital, he urged civilians not to return for ‘at least another week’, with explosives left around the city. Pictured: teams work to clear explosives
The wreckage of a car is seen at the central square of Borodianka, northwest of Kyiv, as Russian troops start to withdraw from the capital
A body is carried at a school in Bucha where Russia has been accused of carrying out war crimes after piles of corpses were found following Ukraine’s recapture
Russia’s death toll in Ukraine is nearing 20,000, Kyiv has claimed, as Ukraine continues to push back invading Kremlin troops and retake ‘key terrain’ around the capital and Chernihiv.
Putin’s forces are retreating from major cities in the west as they refocus their efforts on the Donbas, with 60,000 Russian reservists expected to be called in to reinforce Moscow’s offensive in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces claimed by separatists.
The brutal siege of Mariupol is continuing where the Ukrainian civilian death toll has risen to 5,000, while a nitric acid tank in Rubizhne, Luhansk, has been shelled, forcing civilians to remain inside their homes with their windows shut.
A red and brown cloud of poisonous smoke prompted warnings to residents to wear wet face masks after the release of the dangerous chemical, which both sides blamed on the other.
Luhansk governor Sergiy Gaiday said Russia is planning a major attack in the region as he ordered a mass evacuation, saying: ‘We understand that they are preparing for a full-scale big breakthrough. Please don’t wait for your homes to be bombed.’
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s general staff said Russia has again used banned cluster munitions in Mykolaiv, targeting civilian buildings including a children hospital in a horrific attack which has killed 11 and wounded 61.
British defence officials said ‘low-level fighting is likely to continue in some parts of the newly recaptured regions, but diminish significantly over this week as the remainder of Russian forces withdraw’ from Kyiv and Chernihiv.
In an intelligence update posted online, the UK says many of the Russian units ‘are likely to require significant re-equipping and refurbishment before being available to redeploy for operations in eastern Ukraine.’