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Zelenskyy warns deaths in Bucha, beyond will be 'much more than we know now'

Photographs and video out of Bucha, near the capital city, Kyiv, showed destroyed tanks and armored vehicles, along with bodies.

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As reports of atrocities and attacks on civilians grew across Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that the reality of the Russian invasion may grow even grimmer.

“The military tortured people, and we have every reason to believe that there are many more people killed,” he said Monday night. “Much more than we know now.”

President Joe Biden again called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” saying reports from Bucha are “brutal” and “outrageous.”

Zelenskyy said new sanctions from the West would not be “enough” to respond to the brutality that Ukrainians say happened in Bucha, near Kyiv, where grisly images are purported to show slain civilians.

Residents of Bucha have accused Russian forces of targeting civilians in a deadly campaign that Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said left more than 300 people dead before troops pulled out of the city. Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied the claims, calling them a “provocation,” despite photographs and video showing damaged city streets strewn with bodies.

See full coverage here.

539d ago / 3:29 AM UTC
539d ago / 2:16 AM UTC

Ukraine: 18 journalists killed in country since Russian invasion

KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian government says that 18 journalists have been killed in the country since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24.

The Ukrainian Culture and Information Ministry said in a statement on social media Monday that each of the deaths and other crimes against media representatives will be investigated.

The ministry added that another 13 journalists had been wounded, eight had been abducted or taken prisoner and three journalists were still missing. It said that several crimes had been committed against journalists from 11 countries, including Ukraine.

539d ago / 1:53 AM UTC

Ukrainian Foreign Minister: No place for Russia on the U.N. Human Rights Council

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he has spoken with the head of the United Nations and pledged that Ukraine will do all it can to hold Russia accountable for war crimes.

Kuleba tweeted that he spoke to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres about what he called a massacre in the Kyiv-area city of Bucha.

“Stressed that Ukraine will use all available UN mechanisms to collect evidence and hold Russian war criminals to account,” Kuleba wrote. “No place for Russia on the UN Human Rights Council.”

Photos have shown what appeared to be the bodies of civilians in the street in Bucha after Russian forces left. 

Ukraine’s prosecutor-general has said that the bodies of 410 killed civilians have been removed from the Kyiv region. 

Residents of Bucha have accused Russian forces of targeting civilians. Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said more than 300 people were killed. Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied the claims.

Human Rights Watch also said Sunday that its investigators had documented “summary executions” and “other grave abuses” in several regions Russia controlled in Ukraine, including around Kyiv.


539d ago / 1:29 AM UTC

Zelenskyy to address U.N. Security Council

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he will address the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, a day after he visited a town where authorities said they found hundreds of dead civilians.

Speaking in a nightly address, Zelenskyy again called on democratically elected leaders to supply the country with more weapons and to impose “strong” sanctions on Russia “for the mass murders of civilians.”

“Ukraine needs to get all the needed weapons in order to repulse the occupiers faster from our land,” he said. “To free our cities. And if we already had what we needed, all the planes, tanks, artillery, rocket defense systems, we could have saved thousands of people. I am not blaming you. I am only blaming the Russian soldiers. But you could help.” 

Earlier, Zelenksyy visited Bucha, one of the Kyiv-area towns where Ukrainian officials have said the bodies of 410 civilians have been found. Associated Press reporters who visited the city said some appeared to have been killed at close range; at least two had their hands tied behind their backs, and one had been shot in the head.  

Zelenskyy said there may be even more casualties in the nearby town of Borodyanka. 

Russia, which has veto power on the key 15-member U.N. Security Council, has denied targeting civilians, and its Defense Ministry has accused Ukrainian officials of staging the deaths in Bucha for Western media.

539d ago / 12:59 AM UTC
539d ago / 12:32 AM UTC

Death toll in another town outside Kyiv could top Bucha's, Zelenskyy says

The number of fatally wounded victims in a town outside Kyiv could surpass the death toll in Bucha, where Ukrainian authorities have said they found hundreds of civilians’ bodies after Russian forces retreated, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday. 

Zelenskyy said officials have “information” showing potentially high fatality counts in Borodyanka, about 15 miles west of Bucha, and other towns that are no longer under Russian control.

NBC News has not independently verified the claim, nor has it confirmed the 410 deaths that Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova said have been discovered in and around Bucha.

After visiting Bucha and two other cities in the region, Zelenskyy said many bodies had been recovered in areas with bullet-riddled cars and torched military equipment. 

“It is especially hard to see the bullet holes on the cars that have ‘children’ written on them,” he said.

A Maxar satellite image shows destroyed homes and vehicles Thursday along Vokzalna Street in Bucha, Ukraine.
A Maxar satellite image shows destroyed homes and vehicles Thursday along Vokzalna Street in Bucha, Ukraine.Satellite image (C)2022 Maxar Technologies

Satellite images released Monday by a U.S. defense contractor, Maxar, showed what the company said were sections of Bucha that had been devastated by Russian bombardment. Blackened streets and charred vehicles could be seen next to houses that appeared to have been leveled. 

Zelenskyy said “all the crimes of the occupiers are being documented” for a war crimes investigation that he said would be “full and transparent.” 

“The time will come when every Russian will learn the whole truth about who killed their fellow citizens,” he said. “Who gave orders. Who turned a blind eye to the murders. We will establish all this and make it globally known. It is now 2022. And we have many more tools than those who prosecuted the Nazis after World War II.” 

Russian authorities have denied targeting civilians. In a statement, the country’s Defense Ministry accused Ukrainian authorities of having “stage managed” the casualties in Bucha “for the Western media.”

539d ago / 11:28 PM UTC
539d ago / 10:27 PM UTC

Drug shortages persist in Russia after start of Ukraine war

First came the warnings, in messages among friends and families and on social media, to stock up on vital drugs in Russia before supplies were affected by crippling Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Then, some drugs indeed became harder to find at pharmacies in Moscow and other cities.

Experts and health authorities in Russia say the drug shortages are temporary — due to panic- buying and logistical difficulties for suppliers from the sanctions — but some remain worried that high-quality medicines will keep disappearing in the Russian market.

“Most likely there will be shortages. How catastrophic it will be, I don’t know,” said Dr. Alexey Erlikh, head of the cardiac intensive care unit in Moscow Hospital No. 29, and a professor at the Moscow-based Pirogov Medical University.

Experts say panic-buying has played a role in creating drug shortages.

“People rushed to stock up, and in some cases, supplies that were supposed to last a year or a year and a half were bought out within a month,” Nikolay Bespalov, development director of the RNC Pharma analytical company, told AP.

Bespalov also pointed to logistical problems that occurred early in the crisis. While major Western pharmaceutical companies pledged not to withdraw vital medications from the Russian market, sanctions cut Russia’s key banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system, hindering international payments. Dozens of countries halted air traffic with Russia, disrupting supply chains.

The expert stressed the logistical issues have been largely resolved, but panic-buying, prompted by fears that foreign companies will halt supplies, may continue fueling shortages for some time.

539d ago / 9:30 PM UTC
539d ago / 6:39 PM UTC

Ukraine says 15 evacuation buses left Zaporizhia for Mariupol

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a Telegram message Monday that 15 buses have left Zaporizhia for Mariupol.

Mariupol has seen numerous delays in humanitarian aid and transportation for those evacuating the city over the past several weeks. Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of blocking supplies and harming those trying to leave, which NBC News has not independently verified.

Vereshchuk said 3,376 citizens have been evacuated via humanitarian corridors as officials continue to evacuate people from several other cities in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine.

539d ago / 6:07 PM UTC

France to expel Russian diplomats

The French Foreign Ministry announced Monday that multiple Russian diplomats would be expelled from the country.

The move was described as part of a wider European approach, and the ministry said the diplomats' presence is "contrary to our security interests."

Earlier in the day, Germany declared that several members of the Russian Embassy were unwelcome in the country.

539d ago / 5:33 PM UTC

Germany says some members of Russian Embassy no longer welcome

The German government on Monday declared several members of the Russian Embassy as unwelcome in its country.

“Their work is a threat to those who seek shelter with us. We will no longer tolerate this,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement.

Government officials said they reported the declaration to the Russian ambassador Monday afternoon.

“We will further tighten the existing sanctions against Russia, we will resolutely increase our support for the Ukrainian armed forces, and we will also strengthen NATO’s eastern flank,” Baerbock said.

539d ago / 4:46 PM UTC

140 U.N. members vote to condemn Russia

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said 140 U.N. members have already voted to condemn Russia over the war on Ukraine.

539d ago / 4:28 PM UTC

540d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

Number of Russian airstrikes on Ukraine declining, senior U.S. official says

The number of Russian airstrikes on Ukraine has declined in recent days, and the Russians have “reprioritized” their air activity, a senior defense official said. 

The Russian forces have refocused on Ukrainian positions in the south and around Izyum, near Kharkiv in the eastern portion of Ukraine, the official said, and the level of airstrikes on Kyiv has fallen in recent days. 

Russian troops around Izyum have been moving south and southeast toward the Donbas region, where they are repositioning and reinforcing their artillery. 

540d ago / 3:55 PM UTC

Two-thirds of Russian troops around Kyiv have left, senior U.S. official says

About two-thirds of the Russian troops that were positioned around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv have now left and are headed to Belarus, according to a senior defense official.

The troops are heading north and consolidating in Belarus, the official said. The U.S. believes they are being refitted, resupplied and perhaps reinforced with additional manpower, and then will be sent back into Ukraine to continue fighting elsewhere. The U.S. thinks they may go to the Donbas region.

“That doesn’t mean Kyiv is not under threat,” said the official. “And it doesn’t mean the Russians can’t change course or that there isn’t still a ground threat against Kyiv. Nobody is spiking any footballs here.” 

540d ago / 3:41 PM UTC

U.K. calls for Russia to be suspended from U.N. Human Rights Council

The United Kingdom's foreign secretary, Liz Truss, on Monday called for Russia to be suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Her demand came after reports of attacks on civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha outside Kyiv.

"Given strong evidence of war crimes, including reports of mass graves and heinous butchery in Bucha, Russia cannot remain a member of the UN Human Rights Council," Truss tweeted. 

540d ago / 2:48 PM UTC

Biden says Putin committed 'war crime' in Bucha

President Joe Biden on Monday said he is seeking additional sanctions against Russia and again called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal following reports of a mass killing of civilians by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

“You may remember I was criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” Biden said in brief remarks to reporters. “Well, the truth of the matter, you saw what happened in Bucha. This warrants him — he is a war criminal.”

“This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it,” he added.


540d ago / 2:40 PM UTC

Biden administration is considering new sanctions on Russia, official says


The Biden administration is considering adding more sanctions on Russia and tightening existing ones in response to actions by Russian troops in Bucha, according to a senior administration official.

Speaking to reporters Monday morning, President Joe Biden confirmed that he will announce more sanctions, but did not give a timeline.

The possible shift comes after reports of civilian massacres and mass graves in Bucha circulated, prompting international condemnation and claims that the attacks were war crimes.

While it is unclear which retaliatory measures the administration is considering, The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration has previously discussed “secondary sanctions” on countries that continue to trade with Russia, as well as other measures targeting their economy not seen in previous rounds of sanctions.

540d ago / 1:58 PM UTC

More than 20 schools attacked in Ukraine per day, U.K. aid group says

About 22 schools have been attacked in Ukraine per day since the war began five weeks ago, according to a news release Monday from the U.K. humanitarian organization Save the Children.

The group said that ongoing military operations have disrupted the education of around 5.5 million children who remain in the country. More than 2 million children have fled, it noted.

About 869 education facilities have been damaged — about 6 percent of schools in the country — and 83 destroyed, the Ukrainian ministry of education and science has said. Of those attacks, 43 percent have taken place in eastern Ukraine, where the organization said more than 400,000 children lived prior to Feb. 24.

Peter Walsh, Save the Children's country director in Ukraine, called for those involved in the conflict to "protect the civilian nature of schools, students, and education staff," as well as avoid using educational facilities for military purposes. "Schools should be safe places of learning for children and must be free from attacks at all times," he said.

The organization noted that the war has "exacerbated an already challenging educational context" in Ukraine. Prior to the conflict, the group said 30 percent of education facilities in eastern Ukraine reported not having enough teachers, a problem that is worsening as many flee the country.

540d ago / 1:51 PM UTC

540d ago / 1:47 PM UTC

Zelenskyy says peace talks 'difficult' after Bucha devastation


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy says peace talks with Russia will be more difficult after Russia's military carried out what he called war crimes in Bucha in recent days.

Speaking from the Kyiv suburb Monday, Zelenskyy said he wanted the world to see "what the Russian military was doing" amid claims from Ukrainian officials that hundreds of civilians were killed by Russian forces there.

“This is a war crime and it will be recognized by the world as genocide," he said of Russia's attacks on Ukraine.

Noting peace talks that recently took place in Istanbul, he said: "it is very difficult to negotiate when you see what they have done here."

Still, he said that the longer peace talks are delayed "the worse it is for (Russia), and in principle for this situation, this war, because every day our troops come in and de-occupy the territories."

540d ago / 1:19 PM UTC

540d ago / 1:02 PM UTC

Putin imposes visa restrictions on citizens from 'unfriendly' countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Monday introducing visa restrictions for citizens of countries that Moscow deems “unfriendly” in response to sanctions over Ukraine.

The decree, which comes into force Monday, suspends Russia’s simplified visa issuance regime with some European Union countries, as well as Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland.

It also ordered the Russian foreign ministry and other bodies to decide on introducing personal entry restrictions on “foreign citizens and stateless people who commit unfriendly actions against Russia, its citizens or its legal entities.”

It comes after the Russian government last month approved a list of unfriendly countries including the United States, Canada, Britain, E.U. states and Ukraine, among others.

540d ago / 1:00 PM UTC

U.S. wants Russia out of United Nations Human Rights Council

The United States is pushing for Russia's removal from the United Nations Human Rights Council, its ambassador to the U.N. said Monday.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday that the U.S. would seek Russia's suspension in light of what it called mounting evidence of war crimes "following horrific reports about violence against civilians in Bucha." 

Thomas-Greenfield made the comments during a meeting with the Romanian prime minister, Nicolae Ciucă. She used the meeting to praise Romania for taking in more than 600,000 refugees from Ukraine, according to a statement from Olivia Dalton, the U.S. spokesperson at the U.N.

540d ago / 12:50 PM UTC

World leaders join in condemning Russian aggression

Countries across the world have joined the chorus of outrage over Russia’s military operation Kyiv in recent days, after Ukraine accused it of killing hundreds of civilians.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Monday that he saw signs of a possible “genocide” in Ukraine. “Putin is not conservative, just as the extreme-right isn’t conservative.

He wants to impose an authoritarian society through violence.” Sanchez said at an economic forum in Madrid.

France, Poland, Canada, Japan, Israel, Italy, Britain and the European Union have all condemned the civilian deaths in Bucha. Germany has called for severe sanctions against Russia.

540d ago / 12:39 PM UTC

European Union considering further Russian sanctions

The European Union is considering imposing additional sanctions against Russia in response to what Ukraine called a "massacre" in towns near the capital, Kviy.

The European Commission, the E.U.'s executive body, condemned of Russia’s alleged massacre of civilians in Ukraine. “We support the investigation by the International Criminal Court prosecutor and will advance as a matter of urgency the work on further sanctions against the Kremlin’s war machinery,” it said in a tweet Monday.

Ukraine's defense ministry said Sunday that 410 dead bodies were found in "the liberated districts of Kyiv region," including Bucha and Irpin.

540d ago / 12:11 PM UTC

Macron says 'strong evidence of war crimes' in Bucha

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday there were “clear indications” that Russia was responsible for killing civilians in Bucha, adding that this amounted to "strong evidence of war crimes."

In an interview with France Inter radio, Macron also called for another round of punishing sanctions against the Kremlin.

Macron said Sunday on Twitter that the images coming out of Bucha were “unbearable." Russian forces have retreated from the war-torn city, leaving in their wake a mass of what appeared to be civilian fatalities.

Macron faces re-election this month.

540d ago / 12:00 PM UTC

U.N. human rights chief 'horrified' by Bucha images

Image: Bucha
Communal workers prepare to carry a corpse in a body bag, in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 3, 2022.Sergei Supinsky / AFP - Getty Images

The United Nations human rights chief has said she is "horrified" by images purported to show the bodies of civilians Ukrainian officials say were slain by Russian forces in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv.

"Reports emerging from this and other areas raise serious and disturbing questions about possible war crimes as well as grave breaches of international humanitarian law and serious violations of international human rights law," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Monday.

The U.N. human rights chief said it was essential that all bodies be exhumed and identified so victims' families can be informed and so the exact cause of death can be established.

She further said it is "vital that all efforts are made to ensure there are independent and effective investigations into what happened in Bucha to ensure truth, justice and accountability, as well as reparations and remedy for victims and their families."

Russia has denied Ukraine's claims that hundreds of civilians were killed in Bucha by its forces.

540d ago / 11:40 AM UTC

Russia’s chief investigator orders inquiry into Ukraine's Bucha claims

Russia’s chief investigator ordered an official probe into Ukraine’s accusations of Russian forces killing hundreds of civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv. 

In a statement Monday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was looking into Ukraine’s claims, as well as images shared by Ukrainian officials that it said aimed to “discredit the Russian military personnel.” 

Russia has rejected the claim that its forces killed civilians in Bucha, despite photos and video appearing to show bodies on city streets as its troops pulled out of Bucha and other cities near Kyiv. It has branded Ukraine’s claims a “provocation.” NBC News has not been able to independently verify the photos. 

Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said in a tweet Sunday that Russia would also be requesting a meeting of the U.N. Security Council over what he called a “heinous provocation.” 

540d ago / 11:40 AM UTC

British foreign secretary to visit Poland, call for tougher sanctions on Russia

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will visit Poland on Monday to call for tougher sanctions on Russia, her office said, as major Western countries work together to ramp up the pressure on President Vladimir Putin and end the conflict in Ukraine.

“Putin is yet to show he is serious about diplomacy. A tough approach from the U.K. and our allies is vital to strengthen Ukraine’s hand in negotiations,” she said.

“Britain has helped lead the way with sanctions to cripple the Putin war machine. We will do more to ramp up the pressure on Russia and we will keep pushing others to do more.”

Truss is due to meet Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Poland’s capital, Warsaw, later Monday and her Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau on Tuesday.

Britain, a former European Union member, has coordinated with international allies to impose sanctions on key Russian industries and Moscow’s wealthy elites with the aim of crippling its economy in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

540d ago / 11:33 AM UTC

Zelenskyy says new sanctions not 'enough' after accusing Russia of atrocities in Bucha

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the international community to take stronger action to pressure Russia to end its invasion after grisly images purported to show slain civilians emerged out of the town of Bucha, near Kyiv.

In a Sunday address, Zelenskyy said fresh sanctions from the West would not be "enough" to respond to the atrocities Ukrainians say have been committed in Bucha.

"There will definitely be a new sanctions package against Russia," he said. "But I'm sure that's not enough. We need more conclusions. Not only about Russia, but also about the political behavior that actually allowed this evil to come to our land."

Russia has denied Ukraine's accusations that its forces left hundreds dead in Bucha. It has rejected all claims of targeting civilians in Ukraine since it launched its invasion in late February.

540d ago / 11:33 AM UTC
Newlyweds Nastya Gracheva and Anton Sokolov kiss in a ruined shopping complex in central Kharkiv on April 3, 2022.Sergey Bobok / AFP - Getty Images
540d ago / 11:33 AM UTC

Russia denies Bucha massacre, claims photos are 'staged'

The Kremlin has doubled down on its rejection of accusations from Ukraine that Russian forces killed hundreds of civilians in the city of Bucha, near Kyiv.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia "categorically" rejects "any accusations" and said Ukraine's claims "must be seriously questioned," Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called photos purported to show the dead bodies of civilians on Bucha's streets “staged."

Russia has consistently denied targeting civilians since it launched its invasion of Ukraine. It was unclear how the development could impact peace talks between the two countries.

540d ago / 11:33 AM UTC

540d ago / 11:33 AM UTC

Hungary’s hard-line leader declares victory in election as war rages in neighboring Ukraine

Viktor Orbán claimed victory in Hungary’s general election Sunday, as his Fidesz party appears on track to deliver the prime minister a fourth consecutive term amid a raging war in neighboring Ukraine.

A victory would allow Orbán to continue to be a thorn in the European Union and NATO alliances during a time of international crisis, as he attempts to balance Hungary’s Western partnerships with his close personal and economic relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read the full story here.

540d ago / 11:33 AM UTC

Humanitarian corridor expected to open in Mariupol


A humanitarian corridor from the besieged port city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia is expected to be open Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said. 

In a video address shared on Telegram on Monday, Vereshchuk said the corridor would be designated for private vehicles. She said 15 buses destined for Mariupol had already left Zaporizhzhia as well. 

Meanwhile evacuation efforts continue in the Luhansk region, she said, including from the cities of Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Nyzhne and Rubizhne.

540d ago / 11:33 AM UTC

Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre; city strewn with bodies

BUCHA, Ukraine — Bodies with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture lay scattered in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian soldiers withdrew from the area. Ukrainian authorities on Sunday accused the departing forces of committing war crimes and leaving behind a “scene from a horror movie.”

As images of the bodies — of people whom residents said were killed indiscriminately — began to emerge from Bucha, a slew of European leaders condemned the atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces.

Read the full story here.