Zelensky calls for war crimes trials over civilian massacre in Kyiv suburbs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday demanded that Russian officials be tried for war crimes after hundreds of Ukrainian civilians were found dead in the Kyiv suburbs amid the withdrawal of Russian forces from the region.

In a video address to the U.N. Security Council, Zelensky called for trials similar to those held in Nuremberg, Germany, in the late 1940s.

“The Russian military and those who gave them orders must be brought to justice immediately for war crimes in Ukraine,” he said. “There can be no exceptions.”

Zelensky, who visited a mass grave in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha on Monday, described in graphic detail the carnage that he said was carried out by Russian forces there.

“They shot and killed women outside their houses,” he said. “They killed entire families, adults and children and they tried to burn the bodies.”

Zelensky said there was evidence of civilians who were “shot in the back of their heads after being tortured.”

“Women were raped in front of their children,” he said. “Throats were slashed. Tongues were cut off.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shown giving a video address.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a video address to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. (John Minchillo/AP)

Zelensky’s plea came after shocking images emerged from Bucha, one of a number of suburbs abandoned by Russia’s military. Dead bodies littered the streets, some with their hands tied behind their backs, apparently shot at close range.

The images sparked a fresh wave of condemnation from Western leaders, who called for investigations into the alleged war crimes.

While speaking to reporters at the mass grave in Bucha on Monday, Zelensky said the slaughter should be “recognized by the world as genocide.” President Biden said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes, but stopped short of calling it genocide.

In his Tuesday address, Zelensky also called for Russia to be removed from the U.N. Security Council for violating its charter, which calls for peace.

“Ukraine needs peace. Europe needs peace. The world needs peace,” he said.

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