'Look what you raised': Zelenskyy says Russian mothers should be shown Bucha 'genocide'

3 April 2022, 20:33 | Updated: 4 April 2022, 05:44

Images show destruction and death in newly-liberated Ukrainian towns
Images show destruction and death in newly-liberated Ukrainian towns. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy says the "mothers of Russian soldiers" should see the aftermath of mass killings in liberated towns, described as 'genocide' by Ukraine.

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Videos and photos from towns such as Bucha, that Ukrainian troops have recently retaken control of, show the bodies of civilians lying in the streets, some still inside vehicles or sitting atop fallen bicycles.

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.

Ukraine's prosecutor-general Iryna Venediktova said the bodies of 410 civilians have so far been recovered from Kyiv-area towns, according to the Associated Press.

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Reacting to the images, Mr Zelenksyy said on the Telegram messaging app: "Mothers of Russian soldiers should see that.

"See what b******s you've raised.

"Murderers, looters and butchers."

It came as the president also called on musicians at the Grammys to support Ukraine in "any way you can, but not silence" during a message played via video link.

Ahead of a special performance by John Legend, featuring words by Lyuba Yakimchuk, a poet from Donbas in Ukraine, Mr Zelenskyy said: "The war. What's more opposite to music. The silence of ruined cities and killed people.

"Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we will never see them drawing.

"Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning. In bomb shelters. But alive.

"Our loved ones don't know if we will be together again. The war doesn't let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence."

Ukrainian soldiers inspect the wreckage of a destroyed Russian armored column
Ukrainian soldiers inspect the wreckage of a destroyed Russian armored column. Picture: Alamy

The Ukrainian defence ministry shared footage earlier on Sunday, showing the bodies of men, women and children lying on the streets.

"The Ukrainian city of Bucha was in the hands of Russian animals for several weeks," the ministry said.

"Local civilians were being executed arbitrarily, some with hands tied behind their backs, their bodies scattered in the streets of the city."

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Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klychko said what was happening in Bucha - as well as other areas around the city - was "genocide".

Mr Zelenskyy also said the attacks amounted to genocide, saying: "The elimination of the whole nation, and the people.

"We are the citizens of Ukraine.

"We have more than 100 nationalities.

"This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities."

Town on the outskirts of Kyiv were devastated by Russian assaults
Town on the outskirts of Kyiv were devastated by Russian assaults. Picture: Getty

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the "despicable attacks" and said they were more evidence of war crimes by Putin.

"Russia's despicable attacks against innocent civilians in Irpin and Bucha are yet more evidence that Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine," he said in a statement.

"No denial or disinformation from the Kremlin can hide what we all know to be the truth - Putin is desperate, his invasion is failing, and Ukraine's resolve has never been stronger.

"I will do everything in my power to starve Putin's war machine. We are stepping up our sanctions and military support, as well as bolstering our humanitarian support package to help those in need on the ground."

On Sunday, Dr Jack Watling, a senior research fellow for land warfare at The Royal United Services Institute, told LBC the executions are a Russian tactic used to establish control.

"It looks very evident that men, predominantly, were taken outside of their homes and shot in the street which is a tactic that we have seen conducted by Russian forces in Czechia previously," he told LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday.

"I think as more territory is liberated we will start finding many, many ugly stories of a similar nature."

But Russia said the images were fake, and were "another piece of theatre" by Ukraine.

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Russian troops begun withdrawing from key towns earlier this week, and lost control of the whole Kyiv region on Saturday.

But their retreat is revealing the full extent of what happened in towns and cities whilst they were under Russian control.