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Ukraine’s troops have found brutalised bodies with bound hands, gunshot wounds to the head and signs of torture after Russian soldiers withdrew from the outskirts of Kyiv, authorities say.

Sunday’s allegations sparked new calls for a war crimes investigation and sanctions against Russia.

Associated Press journalists in Bucha, a small city north-west of the capital, saw the bodies of at least nine people in civilian clothes who appeared to have been killed at close range.

As Russian forces pull back from Ukraine’s capital region, retreating troops are creating a catastrophic situation for civilians by leaving mines around homes, abandoned equipment and even the bodies of those killed, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Saturday.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (AP)

At least two had their hands tied behind their backs. The AP also saw two bodies wrapped in plastic, bound with tape and thrown into a ditch.

Authorities said they were documenting evidence to add to their case for prosecuting Russian officials for war crimes. To convict, International Criminal Court prosecutors will need to show a pattern of atrocities committed against civilians during Russia’s invasion.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said scores of civilians were found slain on the streets of Bucha and the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin and Hostomel in what looked like a “scene from a horror movie.”

Some people were shot in the head and had their hands bound, and some bodies showed signs of torture, rape and burning, Arestovych said. Investigators at th eInternational Criminal Court The torture and rape reports could not be independently verified.

an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said scores of civilians were found slain on the streets of Bucha (AP)

Accusations of ‘genocide’, call for oil and gas ban

Local residents said the dead people were civilians killed without provocation, a claim that could not be independently verified.

“What happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv can only be described as genocide,” Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko told German newspaper Bild.

Cr Klitschko called on other nations to immediately end Russian gas imports, saying they were funding the killings.

“Not a penny should go to Russia anymore. That’s bloody money used to slaughter people,” the mayor said.

“The gas and oil embargo must come immediately.”

A woman hugs a Ukrainian serviceman after a convoy of military and aid vehicles arrived in the formerly Russian-occupied Kyiv suburb of Bucha. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (AP)

Russian troops moved into Ukraine from three sides on February 24, and soldiers who entered from the north in Belarus spent weeks trying to clear a path to Kyiv.

Signs of fierce fighting were everywhere in the wake of the Russian redeployment: destroyed armoured vehicles from both armies lay in streets and fields along with scattered military gear.

The Ukrainian military said its troops continued to comb areas outside of the capital for mines, the dead and for any lingering Russian fighters.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, also called for tougher sanctions on Russia, including a complete energy embargo, over the discoveries north of Kyiv.

Mr Kuleba tweeted Sunday that the “Bucha massacre was deliberate,” alleging the “Russians aim to eliminate as many Ukrainians as they can.”

European leaders condemn ‘atrocities’

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, wrote on Twitter that he was shocked by the “haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army” in the capital region.

The EU and non-governmental organisations were assisting in the effort to preserve evidence of war crimes, according to Mr Michel, who promised “further EU sanctions” against Russia.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK separately condemned what was being described and said Russia would be held accountable.

“We will not allow Russia to cover up their involvement in these atrocities through cynical disinformation and will ensure that the reality of Russia’s actions are brought to light,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

As Russia retreated from the capital, other parts of the country were under siege. Russia has said it is directing troops to eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years.

A man distributes toilet paper rolls as people wait for medicine and sanitary supplies handouts after a convoy of military and aid vehicles arrived in the formerly Russian-occupied Kyiv suburb of Bucha, Ukraine, Saturday, April 2, 2022. As Russian forces pull back from Ukraines capital region, retreating troops are creating a catastrophic situation for civilians by leaving mines around homes, abandoned equipment and even the bodies of those killed, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Saturday.( (AP)

Mariupol, a south-eastern port located on the Sea of Azov, remained cut off from the rest of the country as Russian ground forces fought to occupy the city.

About 100,000 civilians — less than a quarter of the prewar population of 430,000 — are believed to be trapped there with little or no food, water, fuel and medicine,

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it hoped a team of nine staffers and three vehicles it sent on Saturday to help evacuate residents would reach Mariupol on Sunday

“The situation on the ground is volatile and subject to rapid changes,” it cautioned.

Ukrainian authorities said Russia agreed days ago to allow safe passage from the city, which has been the site of some of the worst attacks and greatest suffering, but similar agreements have broken down repeatedly under continued shelling.

A supermarket parking lot in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia has become the staging ground for tens of thousands of people fleeing Mariupol.

Peycheva Olena, who made it out of the besieged city, told Britain’s Sky News she was forced to leave the body of her husband unburied when he was killed in shooting.

“There was shelling, and we tried to drag him away but it was too much, we couldn’t do it,” explained her daughter, Kristina Katrikova.

Ukrainian servicemen climb on a fighting vehicle outside Kyiv, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (AP)

Northern city is 70 per cent destroyed

While the geography of the battlefield morphed, little changed for many Ukrainians on the 39th day of a war that has sent more than 4 million people fleeing the country as refugees and displaced millions more from their homes.

The mayor of Chernihiv, which also has been under attack for weeks, said Sunday that relentless Russian shelling has destroyed 70 per cent of the northern city.

Like in Mariupol, Chernihiv has been cut off from shipments of food and other supplies.

“People think how they can live until tomorrow,” mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko said.

On Sunday morning, Russian forces launched missiles on the Black Sea port of Odesa, in southern Ukraine, sending up clouds of dark smoke that veiled parts of the city.

Smoke rises in the air after shelling in Odessa on Sunday. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (AP)

The Russian military said the targets were an oil processing plant and fuel depots around Odesa, which is Ukraine’s largest port and home to its navy.

“I live in that eight-floor building. At six in the morning, Russia launched an attack, and this piece of rock reached my house,” said Maiesienko Ilia, who lives near one of the targeted facilities.

The Odesa city council said Ukraine’s air defence shot down some missiles before they hit the city. Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Nazarov said there were no casualties from the attack.

The regional governor in Kharkiv, said on Sunday that Russian artillery and tanks performed more than 20 strikes on Ukraine’s second-largest city and its outskirts in the country’s north-east over the past day.

Ukrainian firefighters work at a scene of a destroyed building after shelling in Odesa. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (AP)

The head of Ukraine’s delegation in talks with Russia said Moscow’s negotiators informally agreed to most of a draft proposal discussed during face-to-face talks in Istanbul this week, but no written confirmation has been provided.

The Ukrainian negotiator, Davyd Arakhamia said on Ukrainian TV that he hoped the proposal was developed enough so Mr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin could meet to discuss it.

But the top Russian negotiator in talks with Ukraine, Vladimir Medinksy, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying it was too early to talk about a meeting between the two leaders.

As his country’s troops retook territory north of the capital from the departing Russian troops, Mr Zelenskyy called on all Ukrainians to do whatever they could “to foil the enemy’s tactics and weaken its capabilities”.

Maria Pavlovych weeps as she remembers her 25-year-old soldier son, Roman Pavlovych, who was killed near the besieged city of Mariupol, in his bedroom, in Hordynia village, western Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. The Pavlovych family knows a second front line in Russia's war runs through the farmland here in western Ukraine, far from the daily resistance against the invasion. It is an uphill battle for farmers to feed not only their country but the world.

Mother’s tears amid ongoing onslaught on Ukraine

“Peace will not be the result of any decisions the enemy makes somewhere in Moscow,” he said late on Saturday.

“There is no need to entertain empty hopes that they will simply leave our land. We can only have peace by fighting.”

Source: 9News

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