Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the UN must bring war crimes against Russia leaders to show other potential war criminals “how they will be punished if the biggest one is punished.”
He also called for soldiers who savagely attacked civilians – and those who issued the orders – to face trial for the apparent massacre of civilians by Russian forces in and around Kyiv and other major cities.
The Russian military killed “anyone who served our country,” Zelenskyy said Tuesday. Women were shot outside their homes as they searched for friends and loves ones, he said. Zelenskyy reaffirmed that Ukrainian forces that retook cities found mass graves, revelations of atrocities and infrastructure destroyed by Russian forces.
“They killed entire families, adults and children, and they tried to burn their bodies,” Zelenskyy said of the Russian invaders.
Zelensky urged the UN to provide security guarantees to Ukraine. Since Russia holds veto power, however, the Security Council will be unable to act.
“What is the purpose of our organization? Its purpose is to maintain peace,” Zelenskyy said. “And now the UN Charter has been violated, starting with Article 1. What is the point of all the other articles?”
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► The Czech Republic is shipping old Soviet-built infantry vehicles and tanks to Ukraine, Czech lawmaker Ondrej Benesik said in a Twitter post. The Czech Republic is the first country to provide tanks to Ukraine.
► Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the report of civilian deaths as propaganda, claiming Ukrainian forces killed their own people “in a bid to dehumanize Russia and tarnish its image as much as possible.”
► The Feldman Ecopark, a zoo and park outside Kharkiv, has been destroyed by Russian troops, and large animals will be put to sleep because there is no way to evacuate or transport them, park founder Oleksandr Feldman said. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is about 40 miles from the Russian border and has been battered by Russian missile strikes.
► Germany and France have expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, suggesting they were spies. Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.
► Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, addressing a mayors forum organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, urged countries to halt all business with Russia “because every euro, every cent, they receive from Russians – or what you send to Russia – has the blood of Ukrainians on it.”
Ukraine says satellite images reveal brutality of Russian forces
Satellite images taken weeks ago of the town of Bucha outside Kyiv show bodies of civilians on a street, undercutting the Russian claims that Ukrainian forces staged the scene when they retook the city, Reuters reported.
Maxar Technologies provided nine images taken of Bucha on March 18, 19 and 31 to Reuters, and at least four of the images appear to show bodies on the street. Ukraine forces took back the city last week.
Ukraine says 410 civilians were found in Kyiv-area towns recently retook from Russian forces. In Bucha, 280 people were buried in mass graves, according to Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy told the Security Council that satellite images show what really happened during the attacks on Bucha, adding, “we can conduct full and transparent investigations.”
Atrocities near Kyiv fuel global outrage. Will it be a tipping point in the war?
Human Rights Watch: Russia using banned mines
Russia is using a device known as the Pom-3 Medallion, a mine capable of killing people within a 50-foot radius, Human Rights Watch said.
The 1997 International Mine Ban Treaty prohibits the manufacture and use of antipersonnel mines. Ukraine is one of 164 nations that signed the treaty. The United States and Russia have not signed it.
“They are mining all this territory,” Zelenskyy said in a video address. “Mining houses, equipment, even the bodies of killed people. Too many tripwire mines, too many other dangers.” Read more here.
– Janet Loehrke and George Petras
1.2 billion global citizens left vulnerable by war’s disruption
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also addressed the Security Council before Zelenskyy on Tuesday, saying that the world is “dealing with a full-fledged invasion” in violation of the United Nation Charter.
The result: More than 10 million have fled their homes and more than 4 million of them had fled the country.
The war’s victims, Guterres said, also include more than 1.2 billion citizens of developing nations struggling with rising prices and other economic issues aggravated by the war.
“It is more urgent by the day to silence the guns,” Guterres said.
The European Union is considering a ban on all coal imports from Russia in what would be the first sanctions targeting Moscow’s lucrative energy income for its war in Ukraine.
“Today we are proposing a 5th package of sanctions. To take a clear stand is crucial for the whole world,” The EU Commission said in a Twitter post. “A clear stand against Putin’s war of choice. Against the massacre of civilians.”
Europe is determined to increase sanctions against Russia amid emerging evidence of mass slayings of Ukrainian civilians by invading Russian forces, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday. The Mayor said there is a “total determination” from all 27 European Union countries for more severe sanctions targeting oil and coal.
Europe’s dependence on Russian oil, natural gas and coal had left energy sanctions off the table amid fears the entire continent could plunge into recession.
Website links Ukraine refugees with hosts around the globe
A group of Harvard University students have created a website to help Ukrainian refugees find housing around the world.
Ukrainetakeshelter.com, created by Avi Schiffmann and Marco Burstein, encourages everyone with space in their homes to post a listing. Refugees and hosts must provide identity verification either through government issued ID card or passport. Over 18,000 prospective hosts have signed up on the site. On a recent day, Burstein and Schiffman logged 800,000 users.
Burstein said he, Schiffman and Irish software engineer Daniel Conlon have been “blown away” by the response.
“We’ve heard all sorts of amazing stories of hosts and refugees getting connected all over the world,” Burstein said. “We have hosts in almost any country you can imagine from Hungary and Romania and Poland to Canada to Australia.”
State Department calls atrocities part of a ‘broader, troubling campaign’
The credible reports of torture, rape and civilian executions in Ukraine are probably not the acts of rogue soldiers, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday.
‘“They are part of a broader, troubling campaign,” he said at a State Department briefing.
Price said the world has been shocked by “the horrifying images of the Kremlin’s brutality” in Bucha and other cities near Kyiv. Civilians, many with their hands tied, were apparently executed in the streets.
Others were dumped in mass graves. As they’ve retired, Russians have also left behind land mines and booby traps to injure more Ukrainians and slow recovery, Price said.
The apparent atrocities will be one of the topics of discussion when Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with his NATO counterparts in Belgium this week.
Allies are already discussing additional sanctions and ways to help Ukraine document war crimes for a criminal prosecution, Price said. The US has contributed both money and manpower to help Ukraine’s prosecutor general compile a case.
Germany’s president is admitting mistakes in policy toward Russia in his previous job as foreign minister. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier served twice foreign minister, most recently from 2013 to 2017, and pursued dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin to cultivate energy ties. Russia provides Germany with about one-third of it oil and gas and more than half its coal.
Ukraine and Polish officials have criticized Steinmeier for being too close to Russia. Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin boycotted a peace concert with Russian artists organized by Steinmeier. Steinmeier told ZDF television Tuesday that “we failed on many points,” including efforts to encourage Russia toward democracy and respecting human rights.
Contributing: The Associated Press