Sunday September 25th, 2022 4:17PM

Ukrainians pore over grisly aftermath of atrocities

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ANDRIIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine gathered its dead and collected evidence of Russian atrocities on the ruined outskirts of Kyiv, as the two sides geared up Wednesday for what could be a climactic battle by Moscow's forces to seize the country's industrial east.

As the U.S. and its Western allies moved to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin in retaliation for what they branded war crimes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces were trying to push deep into Ukraine in the east, but the Ukrainian army was holding them back.

“The fate of our land and of our people is being decided. We know what we are fighting for. And we will do everything to win,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukrainian officials have stepped up calls for civilians to evacuate westward from towns near the front line ahead of the anticipated Russian offensive, and some essential services were being moved away. Local authorities in Sloviansk said postal and pension operations were clearing out and bank branches in town were shutting down.

In the scarred and silent streets of Bucha and other towns around Ukraine’s capital that Russian recently troops left, investigators sought to document what appeared to be widespread killings of civilians, some apparently shot at close range, others with their hands bound or their flesh burned. Specialists also cleared mines from the areas.

At a cemetery in Bucha, workers began to load more than 60 bodies apparently collected over the past day into a grocery shipping truck for transport to a facility for further investigation. A few of the black body bags were not fully closed. A glimpse showed the bloodied face of a young adult. Another revealed a pair of white sneakers.

More bodies were yet to be collected in Bucha, days after the Russian withdrawal. The Associated Press saw two in a house in a silent neighborhood. From time to time there was the muffled boom of workers clearing the town of unexploded ordnance, including mines.

In Andriivka, a village about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of Kyiv, two police officers from the nearby town of Makariv came Tuesday to identify a man whose body was in a field beside tank tracks. Officers found 20 bodies in the Makariv area, Capt. Alla Pustova said.

Andriivka residents said the Russians arrived in early March and took locals' phones. Some people were detained, then released; others met unknown fates. Some described sheltering for weeks in musty, cramped cellars normally used for storing vegetables for winter.

With the sixth week of the war drawing to a close, the soldiers were gone, and Russian armored personnel carriers, a tank and other vehicles sat destroyed on both ends of the road running through the village. Several buildings were reduced to mounds of bricks and corrugated metal. Residents struggled without heat, electricity or cooking gas.

“First we were scared, now we are hysterical,” said Valentyna Klymenko, 64. She said she, her husband and two neighbors weathered the siege by sleeping on stacks of potatoes covered with a mattress and blankets. “We didn’t cry at first. Now we are crying.”

To the north of the village, in the town of Borodyanka, rescue workers combed through the rubble of apartment blocks, looking for bodies. Mine-disposal units worked nearby.

Thwarted in their efforts to take the capital and forced to withdraw, President Vladimir Putin’s troops, along with mercenaries, are now pouring into the Donbas, Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking industrial heartland in the east.

Overnight, Russian forces attacked a fuel depot and a factory in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, just west of the Donbas, authorities said. In the Luhansk region, which is part of the Donbas, Russian shelling Wednesday caused fires in at least 10 multi-story buildings and a mall in the town of Sievierodonetsk, the regional governor reported. There was no immediate word on deaths or injuries.

Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russia-backed rebels in Luhansk and the other Donbas region, Donetsk, since 2014. Ahead of its Feb. 24 invasion, Moscow recognized the regions as independent states.

Ukrainian authorities have said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in towns around Kyiv, and Associated Press journalists in Bucha counted dozens of corpses in civilian clothes and interviewed Ukrainians who told of witnessing atrocities.

In a video address Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council, Zelenskyy said that civilians had been tortured, shot in the back of the head, thrown down wells, blown up with grenades in their apartments and crushed to death by tanks while in cars.

He said that those who gave the orders and those who carried them out should face war crimes charges in front of a tribunal like the one established at Nuremberg after World War II. And he sharply challenged the U.N. to remove Russia from the Security Council and show the world the organization's worth.

“Where is the peace that the United Nations was created to guarantee?” he asked.

In reaction to the alleged atrocities, the U.S. announced sanctions targeting Putin’s two adult daughters and said it is toughening penalties against Russian banks. Britain banned investment in Russia and pledged to end its dependence on Russian coal and oil by the end of the year.

The European Union was also expected to take additional punitive measures, including an embargo on imports of Russian coal.

The Kremlin has insisted its troops have committed no war crimes.

Moscow's U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said “not a single local person" suffered from violence while Bucha was under Russian control. Using to a tactic Russian officials have often relied on in the face of accusations of atrocities, he said scenes of bodies in the streets were “a crude forgery” staged by the Ukrainians.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the aid group Doctors without Borders said its staff witnessed an attack Monday on a cancer hospital in a residential district of the southern city of Mykolaiv. The group said it was the third known strike in recent days on a hospital in the port city, whose capture is key to giving Russia control of the Black Sea coast.

It said it had no overall death toll, but its team saw one body.

The group said it also saw numerous small holes in the ground, scattered over a large area, that suggested the use of cluster bombs. Russia has denied using cluster munitions in Ukraine. The use of such weapons against civilians can be a violation of international law.

Attacks on medical facilities and workers are deemed war crimes, and Russia has been accused of striking multiple medical facilities during the conflict, including a maternity hospital in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, which is part of the Donbas and has been the scene of some of the worst suffering of the war.

British defense officials said 160,000 people remained trapped by Russian air strikes and heavy fighting in that city, without electricity, communication, medicine, heat or water.

A team from the Red Cross has been trying to get into Mariupol since Friday and got within 20 kilometers (12 miles), but the organization said it was too dangerous to enter.

Negotiators from Russia and Ukraine have been discussing ways to end the fighting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said those talks continue despite the war crime allegations.


Oleksandr Stashevskyi and Cara Anna in Bucha, Ukraine, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine, and Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ukrainians pore over grisly aftermath of atrocities
Ukrainian authorities are poring over the grisly aftermath of alleged Russian atrocities around Kyiv, as both sides prepare for an all-out push by Moscow's forces to seize Ukraine’s industrial east
9:15AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Zoos hiding birds as avian flu spreads in North America
Zoos across North America are moving their birds indoors and away from people and wildlife as they try to protect them from the highly contagious and potentially deadly avian influenza
9:11AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Residents clear trees, assess damage from southern storms
Weather forecasters planned to survey damage from several possible tornadoes in Georgia and South Carolina, but said that effort could be interrupted by the potential for more storms Wednesday
9:06AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
2 killed in Georgia, Texas as damaging storms strike South
Authorities say one person is dead in Georgia and another in Texas amid damaging storms, high winds and tornadoes around the South
8:32AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Live Updates | Call for sanctions to hit closer to Putin
The top ally and chief strategist of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is welcoming reports that the U.S. might impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters — and says his “most important confidante” should be sanctioned too
8:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
WHO: COVID cases and deaths continue to fall globally
The World Health Organization reports that the number of coronavirus cases reported globally has dropped for a second consecutive week
8:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Live updates | China urges investigation into Bucha deaths
China says the reports and images of civilian deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha are “deeply disturbing” and is calling for an investigation
4:51AM ( 4 hours ago )
Live updates | Russia-Ukraine War
Hungary’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the Ukrainian ambassador after days of the two countries’ officials trading barbs over Hungary’s position on the war
3:50AM ( 5 hours ago )
Killings of Ukrainian civilians could bring more sanctions
Western governments are preparing tougher sanctions against Russia as Ukraine documents and investigates killings of civilians and other alleged war crimes
3:20AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
China calls for probe into Bucha killings, assigns no blame
China says the reports and images of civilian deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha are “deeply disturbing" but that no one should be blamed until all facts are known
8:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
US premarket, global shares fall on rate hike fear, Russia
U.S. markets were on track to open lower on Wednesday, after a Federal Reserve official’s comments fueled expectations of more aggressive rate hikes and the White House announced more sanctions on Russia
8:08AM ( 1 hour ago )
More UK Easter flights disrupted amid COVID staff absences
British travelers faced more disruptions during the Easter holiday break as two major airlines, British Airways and easyJet, canceled about 100 flights Wednesday
7:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Zoos hiding birds as avian flu spreads in North America
Zoos across North America are moving their birds indoors and away from people and wildlife as they try to protect them from the highly contagious and potentially deadly avian influenza
9:11AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Residents clear trees, assess damage from southern storms
Weather forecasters planned to survey damage from several possible tornadoes in Georgia and South Carolina, but said that effort could be interrupted by the potential for more storms Wednesday
9:06AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Jury deliberations enter 3rd day in Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot
Jurors are back for a third day of deliberations in a trial that centers on a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
8:55AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Hong Kong's No. 2 official resigns, announces leadership bid
Hong Kong’s No. 2 official, a staunch supporter of a Beijing-backed crackdown on pro-democracy activists, has tendered his resignation to pave the way for his run in the city’s upcoming leadership race
8:54AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Car rams Russian Embassy gate in Romania, driver dead
Police in the Romanian capital say a car carrying containers of flammable materials has crashed into the gate of the Russian Embassy, bursting into flames and killing the driver
8:52AM ( 36 minutes ago )