The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday as President Joe Biden and a growing chorus of world leaders condemn Russia after Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces.
The Russian withdrawal from towns around Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, revealed the corpses. The outcry has led to calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, including a possible cutoff of gas and oil imports from Russia. Germany and France reacted by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, suggesting they were spies. US President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy plans to address the UN body after it receives briefings from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. UN officials are trying to arrange a cease-fire.
“It’s very difficult to conduct negotiations when you see what they did (in Bucha),” Zelenskyy said, adding that “dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured” in the suburb and elsewhere.
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WHAT IS A WAR CRIME? Ukraine accuses Russia of them, but what exactly constitutes a war crime?
►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.”
► EU Commission: President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy this week.
► The war will have a worldwide economic impact far beyond Europe: a World Bank report released Tuesday predicted slowing growth and rising poverty in Asia during the coming months due to disruptions to supplies of commodities, financial strains, and higher prices.
►The Ukrainian government says 18 journalists have been killed and 13 wounded in the country since the war began. In addition, eight have been abducted or taken prisoner and three are missing.
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 retreated, 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.
– Maureen Groppe
Atrocities near Kyiv fuel global outrage. Will it be a tipping point in the war?
German president admits mistakes with Russia
Germany’s president is admitting mistakes in policy toward Russia in his previous job as foreign minister. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier served twice as 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 its 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 respect for human rights.
Contributing: The Associated Press