‘It’s not a battlefield, it’s a crime scene,’ European leaders say after 410 civilians’ bodies were discovered in mass graves in Ukraine, reportedly executed by Russian military (photos)

After withdrawing Russian forces abandoned mass graves in the Ukrainian village of Bucha, European leaders have accused Russia of genocide.

On Sunday night, April 3, the Ukrainian government announced that 410 dead had been discovered in villages near Kyiv, the country’s capital.

According to the authorities, mass graves lined the streets of the little town of Bucha, one of more than 30 towns and suburbs seized by the Ukrainian army in recent days, with bodies of residents bound with their hands and bullet holes in the backs of their skulls.

According to Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenskyy, survivors emerging from basements after weeks of hiding underground reported witnessing summary executions, sexual violence and terror not seen since Joseph Stalin’s Soviet rule of terror in the 1930s.

In one graphic photo released by the Ukrainian government, the body of a man, with his wrists tied behind his back, could be seen lying on a street

In another incident in Bucha, Russian soldiers allegedly forced five men on to their knees, pulled shirts over their heads and shot them in the back of the head.

Another woman in the town said Russian soldiers took her and 40 others to a square to witness a similar scene with four men – although this time just one of them was shot.

Ukraine’s defence ministry tweeted footage of the scenes, also comparing the harrowing images to the 1995 murders of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Bosnia.

It said: ‘New Srebrenica. The city of Bucha was in the hands of animals for several weeks.

‘Civilians were being executed arbitrarily, some with hands tied behind their backs, their bodies scattered in the streets of the city.’

Zelensky and Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko accused the Russian state of ‘genocide’.

The UK, France and Germany, along with the NATO Secretary General, on Sunday night called for an international probe to be opened into allegations of Russian ‘war crimes’.

Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas declared: ‘It’s not a battlefield, it’s a crime scene’ in reference to the horrific images.

Zelensky said: ‘This is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people.’

Mr Klitschko said pictures of the devastation were ‘painful to see’. He added: ‘They are killing civilians, they kill children, women.’

In a statement, Boris Johnson said the UK is ‘stepping up’ its sanctions and military support, and ‘bolstering’ humanitarian help for those on the ground.

‘The UK has been at the forefront of supporting the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine.

‘The Justice Secretary has authorised additional financial support and the deployment of specialist investigators – we will not rest until justice is served.’

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