“The world has seen Russian evil”

The President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, and leaders of the European Union visited the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kiev, on March 31, a year after it was liberated by the local Army and the images of the crimes that were released were released. Russian troops committed against the inhabitants. Meanwhile, Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko, a Moscow ally, has said his country could host Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons.

A grim anniversary amid multiple calls for justice.

Ukrainians commemorated this Friday, March 31, one year of the liberation of Bucha, the town on the outskirts of Kiev, whose inhabitants suffered serious harassment at the hands of the Russian military that occupied the area after the president of the neighboring country, Vladimir Putin , ordered the invasion on February 24, 2022.

Among the crimes recorded are executions, torture and rape. Last September and after an investigation on the ground, the UN concluded that Moscow soldiers committed war crimes against the population before the place was recovered by the local Army.

Ukrainian President Volodímir Zelenski moved there in the last few hours together with leaders of the European Union such as the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Robert Golob; the president of Moldova, Maia Sandu; the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic; and the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Eduard Heger.

From there Zelenski promised to defeat the invaders. “The battle for the foundation of the free world is taking place on Ukrainian soil. We will definitely win. The Russian evil will fall, right here in Ukraine and will not be able to rise again,” the head of state asserted.

Bucha became an unfortunate example of the Kremlin’s atrocities in the midst of its occupationist aspirations, after the discovery of mass graves with dozens of corpses, including those of children, and heartbreaking stories from the survivors.

“We will not allow it to be forgotten (…) Human dignity will not allow it to be forgotten. In the streets of Bucha, the world has seen the Russian evil. The evil unmasked,” Zelensky remarked at a ceremony in which he pointed to lead those responsible for the atrocities brought to justice.

The authorities emphasize that the organized cruelty – that the Russian troops used in other conflicts, especially in Chechnya – was repeated in the territories that it has occupied in Ukraine.

At least 1,400 civilians were killed in Bucha by Russian troops

Prosecutors from the attacked country documented more than 1,400 civilian deaths, including 37 children, in the Bucha district, Zelensky said.

More than 175 people were found in mass graves and alleged torture chambers, the president added.

Attorney General Andriy Kostin said Friday that many of the civilians found dead were tortured. Nearly 100 Russian soldiers are suspected of war crimes and indictments have been issued against 35 of them.

File-Two women look at the bodies of dead civilians in Bucha, a town northwest of kyiv, where dozens of women and girls denounce that they were sexually abused by Russian soldiers.  In Bucha, Ukraine, on April 8, 2022.
File-Two women look at the bodies of dead civilians in Bucha, a town northwest of kyiv, where dozens of women and girls denounce that they were sexually abused by Russian soldiers. In Bucha, Ukraine, on April 8, 2022. © Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

In Geneva, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk said his office has so far verified the deaths of more than 8,400 civilians in Ukraine since the Kremlin launched the war, a figure believed to be far below the actual magnitude.

Türk stressed to the UN Human Rights Council that “serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have become astonishingly routine” amid Russia’s invasion.

kyiv and other governments, including the United States, demand that those involved answer for war crimes.

But Russia does not give up on its campaign and this Friday the attacks continued throughout the country. Putin’s army carried out several bombardments with long-range weapons, leaving at least two civilians dead and 14 wounded.

Lukashenko opens door to Russian nukes, but calls for truce in Ukraine

As if the siege of the Russians within the territory of their country were not enough, Ukraine foresees an increase in threats from Belarus, a nation with which it shares a border and whose president is a strategic ally of Putin.

The Belarusian president, Aleksander Lukashenko, assured this March 31 that he does not rule out deploying Russian strategic nuclear weapons in his country, due to alleged threats from the West.

“If necessary, we (with Russian President Vladimir) Putin will decide and introduce strategic nuclear weapons here,” Lukashenko told the National Assembly.

His statements come after Minsk last week accepted the deployment Moscow Tactical Nuclear Weapons Facility comparatively short-ranged and low-yield. For their part, strategic nuclear weapons, such as missile-borne nuclear warheads, would pose a greater threat.

Without presenting evidence, Lukashenko accused the West of preparing “pto invade Belarus, to destroy our country”.

We will stop at nothing to defend our countries and our peoples,” he added.

Despite his threats and accusations, the president – described by many as the “last dictator in Europe” for his controversial re-elections – called for a ceasefire in Ukraine.

“It is necessary to stop now before an escalation begins,” after noting that the ceasefire must be registered without conditions and stopping all movement of troops and weapons.

But Lukashenko did not fail to warn that the infrastructure needed to house tactical nuclear weapons “has been created and is ready.”

Pedro Sánchez urges Xi Jinping to talk with Zelenski

In the middle of the conference Boao Forum for Asiathe president of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, urged the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, to speak with the Ukrainian head of state, Volodímir Zelenski, and learn first-hand about Kiev’s peace plan to put an end to the Russian invasion.

“I think it is a plan that lays the foundations for a lasting peace in Ukraine and is perfectly aligned with the United Nations Charter and its principles, which have been violated by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin with his invasion,” Sánchez asserted. from Beijing, where he also met with Prime Minister Li Qiang and the Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Zhao Leji.

“I conveyed our concern about the illegal invasion of Ukraine,” he added.

Meanwhile, and according to a reading of the meeting by the Chinese state chain CCTV, Xi called for an end to the “Cold War mentality” and the pressure of “extreme” sanctions, although without directly mentioning Russia, a country to which he has shown his overwhelming support while trying to remain neutral in the face of the conflict ordered by Putin.

“We hope all parties involved will build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture through dialogue and consultation,” Xi said.

The call for a dialogue between kyiv and Beijing comes after the Chinese president presented a plan to seek peace on Ukrainian soil last February.

The program consists of 12 points: respect the sovereignty of all countries, abandon the Cold War mentality, cease hostilities, resume peace talks, resolve the humanitarian crisis, protect civilians and prisoners of war, preserve security nuclear facilities, reduce strategic risks, facilitate grain exports, end unilateral sanctions, keep industrial and supply chains stable, and promote post-conflict reconstruction.

However, the rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow, which in the last year went from being relatively discreet to a united and open front, as demonstrated by the recent meeting between Putin and Xi in Moscow where they exchanged praise, raises doubts on the part of the European Union, NATO and the United States.

With Reuters, AP and EFE

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