Russians 'booby trap bodies with bombs' as tearful Zelenskyy decries 'genocide'

5 April 2022, 00:04 | Updated: 5 April 2022, 08:39

Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy was reduced to tears on a visit to Bucha.
Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy was reduced to tears on a visit to Bucha. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Russia is facing more accusations of committing atrocities against Ukraine amid claims their forces have been rigging bodies with explosives.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Ukrainian soldiers have reportedly been careful with the bodies they find in the towns occupied by Russia, which has been accused of carrying out killings on innocent people.

In even more brutal assertions, the invaders have now been accused of rigging the dead with explosives as a booby trap.

It came as new satellite pictures of the area appeared to show bodies in the streets in early March - before Russian troops pulled back last week.

Over the weekend, Ukraine accused Russian forces of killing 300 civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, during their occupation to the northwest of Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy was reduced to tears when he spoke to residents about the horrors inflicted by Russia's forces in the town, with dozens of bodies strewn across the streets.

The Times reports how Archpriest Piotr Pavlenko came across the bodies of Hostomel's mayor, Yriy Pzylykoa, and his driver, Ivan Zoryo, apparently cut down by Russian troops.

It later emerged their bodies were left out, rigged with explosives, waiting for someone to try and retrieve them so they could be killed.

Russian retreat from Bucha reveals scores of civilian deaths.
Russian retreat from Bucha reveals scores of civilian deaths. Picture: Getty

The bodies of Ukrainian civilians have been found scattered, many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture, after Russian forces retreated from the area.

Videos and photos from Bucha show the bodies of civilians lying in the streets, some still inside vehicles or sitting atop fallen bicycles.

The Kremlin has denied being behind the killings, insisting footage was set-up.

However, first signs of excavation of a mass grave on the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints in Bucha were seen in images from March 10.

The 45-foot-long trench - dug into the grounds of the Ukrainian church - was later seen again on satellite imagery at the end of March.

Ukrainian troops have recently retaken control of the town, with Zelenskyy making a rare-in person appearance to the suburb on Monday.

The Ukrainian leader, hailed a hero for his defiance and bravery during Russia's invasion, was visibly emotional as he surveyed the massacre in the town.

Read more: 'You allow me to die': West failing to stand up to 'new Hitler', says ex-Ukrainian PM

Read more: Ukrainian village mayor 'executed and buried in shallow grave along with husband and son'

Zelenskyy was visibly emotional on his visit to Bucha.
Zelenskyy was visibly emotional on his visit to Bucha. Picture: Getty

He spoke to local residents about the horrors inflicted on their community by Vladimir Putin's forces, condemning the Russian leader of war crimes and "genocide".

"We know that thousands of people have been killed and tortured, their limbs were cut off, raped women, killed children," Mr Zelenskyy said.

"I think this is actually more than - this is actually genocide."

"These are war crimes and will be recognised by the world as genocide,' Zelenskyy said, wearing body armour and surrounded by military personnel.

"It's very difficult to talk when you see what they've done here," he said.

"The longer the Russian Federation drags out the meeting process, the worse it is for them and for this situation and for this war."

Read more: Two Russian soldiers die after eating poisoned 'pies' given as gifts by Ukrainian citizens

Satellite imagery gives a closer view of a probable grave site and the church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho in Bucha.
Satellite imagery gives a closer view of a probable grave site and the church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho in Bucha. Picture: Getty/Maxar Technologies

Mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk said some were wearing white bandages, indicating to Russian troops that they were not armed, and some had their hands tied behind their backs.

Others were thrown into mass graves, with around 280 corpses being found buried on Saturday.

Mr Zelenskyy says the evidence makes it difficult to conduct peace talks.

The bodies of Olha Sukhenko, her husband Igor and their son, Alexander, were found in a shallow grave behind buildings housing Russian soldiers in woodland outside the village of Motyzhyn, 30 miles west of Kyiv.

Local reports say they were shot at close range and had been thrown into a pit.

They were reportedly taken captive on March 23 after refusing to collaborate with Russian forces.

Ms Sukhenko's body is said to have shown signs of torture, with broken arms and fingers. Her husband reportedly had his hands behind his back and a piece of plastic wrapped around his eyes like a blindfold.

The UK's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK needs to announce a tough new wave of sanctions on the Kremlin amid the devastating scenes in Bucha.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign affairs minister, called for the "most severe" sanctions to be applied by the West "this week" on Moscow after the atrocities.

He told a joint press conference in Warsaw, Poland, alongside Foreign Secretary Liz Truss: "Half measures are not enough anymore. I demand from our partners, on behalf of the victims of Bucha and the people of Ukraine, to take the most severe sanctions against Russia this week.

'Stop talking about providing military support and start providing'

"This is not the request of Ukraine's foreign minister. This is the plea of the victims of rape, torture and killings, their relatives and the entire Ukrainian nation.

"I have heard thousands of arguments about why this or that sanction cannot be imposed against Russia.

"It is time to put all hesitation, reluctance, business-wise arguments aside and think about human suffering and the need to stop the Russian war machine until it kills and destroys more on its way."

West must come together to help fight against Russia

Earlier, Ukraine's former prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk told LBC that "scared" western leaders are allowing Ukrainians to die.

He told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Pierce: "We are ready to fight until the end, but we don't have enough weapons. And you guys have weapons, and you don't provide us weapons.

"You allow us to die, personally me, personally you allow me to die because you are scared. This is a pity.

"We have the same values, we are Europeans and now what we understand about you, you are going to absorb our deaths... you will be next. Putin will go to your homes and will destroy your homes."

He called Russian president Mr Putin "a new Hitler" who "will go as far as we let him go."

"He is going to destroy a nation, one of the biggest nations in Europe," he said.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Pictures of the Week Global Photo Gallery

Iran fires air defence batteries at two sites after drones spotted

Israel strikes back at Iran: Explosions heard and airspace closed as revenge attack launched

Israel strikes back at Iran: Explosions heard following revenge attack - days after Tehran's drone assault

India Election Narendra Modi

India starts voting as Narendra Modi seeks third term as prime minister

Rishi Sunak is to call for an end to the "sick note culture".

End of the 'sick note': Rishi Sunak to stop GPs signing people off work in welfare scheme overhaul

Andrew Malkinson

'Too little, too late': Andrew Malkinson rejects Criminal Cases Review Commission's apology after being wrongly jailed

Argentina NATO

Argentina asks to join Nato as President Milei seeks more prominent role

An officer threatened to arrest the man for 'breaching the peace'

Shocking moment Met police officer threatens to arrest man for being 'quite openly Jewish' at pro-Palestine march

Israel Palestinians UN Security Council

US vetoes widely supported UN resolution backing full membership for Palestine

Trump Hush Money

Twelve jurors confirmed for Trump hush money trial

Jonathan Hall KC admitted refugees have previously been let into the UK without the full checks.

Refugees have been admitted to UK ‘without proper checks’ as Border Force is 'too overwhelmed’, terror watchdog says

Jeremy Clarkson was seen comforting his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, after tragedy stuck Diddly Squat Farm when two piglets died in an emotional scene captured on an episode of Clarkson's Farm

Jeremy Clarkson comforts sobbing girlfriend after tragedy strikes Diddly Squat Farm in new series

Lord Nick Houghton speaks to LBC’s Andrew Marr.

Ukraine 'is fighting proxy war on behalf of Nato', says ex-military chief as he criticises 'incoherent' defence spending

Peter Murrell has been charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the Scottish National Party.

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell charged in connection with embezzlement of funds from SNP

Kenya’s military chief General Francis Ogolla

Kenya’s military chief dies in helicopter crash

Sydney Sweeney hit back at the comments about her.

Sydney Sweeney hits back at 'sad and shameful' producer who said she ‘can’t act’ and ‘isn’t pretty’

Jonathan Hall has hit out at WhatsApp over the lowering of the age limit.

UK’s terror watchdog hits out at WhatsApp over lowering of age limit as he says more kids are being radicalised online