The week the world woke up to Russian war crimes in Ukraine – podcast | News

On 27 February, the fourth day of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops entered the town of Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv. They were not welcomed with flowers, as they had reportedly been led to believe they would. Instead, they put fierce resistance. A column of armored vehicles was ambushed and the Russian soldiers found themselves in a brutal gunfight. Eventually, having suffered many losses of troops and equipment, Russian forces took over the town and began an occupation that would last for more than a month.

What happened during those weeks of occupation is only now coming to light: hundreds of civilians in the town were tortured, raped and murdered by Russian soldiers. After their rapid withdrawal last weekend, the Guardian’s Daniel Boffey visited the town, where, he told Michael Safi, the fighting was so recent that the blood stains were still wet. On Vokzal’na Street, people astonishingly still lived in houses all but razed to the ground. From there he was able to piece together an account of ‘pure hell’, as some described it.

The pictures and accounts from Bucha drew worldwide revulsion. The Nato alliance came forward with new offers of military equipment and harsher sanctions for Russia. But despite world leaders’ condemnation of the apparent war crimes, diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour explains why the UN’s hands are tied: Russia has a veto on any official investigation, so there is a slim chance of any immediate justice for those civilians killed.

A woman walks amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Photograph: Rodrigo Abd/AP

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