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The U.S. State Department joined other nations in expressing revulsion coupled with accusations of war crimes Monday after the Russian pullout from the outskirts of Kyiv revealed streets strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, some of whom had seemingly been killed at close range.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
“We are seeing credible reports of torture, rape and civilians executed alongside their families,” said State Department Spokesman Ned Price.
The grisly images of battered bodies left out in the open or hastily buried led to calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, namely a cutoff of fuel imports from Russia. Germany and France reacted by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, and U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.
“The United States has long warned that Putin’s forces were likely to commit atrocities as part of their aggression,” Price said.
Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the Ukrainian capital, including Bucha, after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops.
Ukrainian prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova told Ukrainian TV today that a “similar humanitarian situation” to Bucha exists in other parts of the country where Russian forces recently left, such as the areas around the northern cities of Sumy and Chernihiv.
Price said the U.S. is supporting that effort and others to seek to provide accountability for the atrocities in Ukraine.
“Right now at the request of the prosecutor general of Ukraine, the United States is supporting a multinational team of international prosecutors to the region to directly support the efforts of the prosecutor general’s war crimes unit to collect, preserve and analyze evidence of atrocities with a view towards pursuing criminal accountability.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion has left thousands of people dead and forced more than 4 million Ukrainians to flee their country.
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