Politics

Killings in Ukrainian city of Bucha are 'clearly war crimes,' says Joly

Canada's foreign affairs minister said Monday images coming out of the Ukrainian town of Bucha "clearly" demonstrate that "war crimes" have taken place.

Warning: this story contains an image of a dead body

A woman walks past destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (Rodrigo Abd/The Associated Press)

Canada's foreign affairs minister said Monday images coming out of the Ukrainian town of Bucha "clearly" demonstrate that "war crimes" have taken place.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is just the latest western official to condemn Moscow's actions in Ukraine after Russian troops withdrew from the town on the outskirts of Kyiv, leaving behind streets dotted with what appeared to be the corpses of civilians.

Some appeared to have been killed deliberately at close range. Some of the bodies were left in the open or in hastily dug graves.

"This weekend, the world witnessed an abhorrent and senseless attack on innocent civilians in Bucha. These acts of terror won't go unpunished," Joly told a news conference with her Finnish counterpart in Helsinki on Monday.

"These are clearly war crimes."

WATCH | Bucha mayor speaks to CBC's Power & Politics about civillians killed in his town

Bucha mayor feels 'great anger' about civilian killings

3 months ago
Duration 6:00
'If these crimes are not prosecuted, then they will happen again in different countries,' Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk said through a translator.

"We were building a great community, a great place, which the Russian military destroyed," Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk told CBC News.

"The only [feeling] is great anger. Great anger not only to the Russian military, but I'm very sorry to say, even to the Russian people.

"If these crimes are not prosecuted, then they will happen again in different countries."

On Monday afternoon, the House of Commons passed a motion put forward by NDP MP Heather McPherson condemning the scenes coming out of Bucha as war crimes.

The motion also called on Parliament to support increased aid to Ukraine, accountability at the International Criminal Court and stronger trade restrictions and economic sanctions on Russia.

"These heinous acts demand action. Vladimir Putin and the Russian military must not be allowed to get away with this," said McPherson.

'There needs to be more sanctions:' Joly

Joly said Canada will continue to support the International Criminal Court's investigation of Russian troops' actions during the war. 

Along with the three special RCMP investigators already stationed with the court, the RCMP is sending seven additional special investigators to The Hague to support the probe into reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in Ukraine.

"Accountability will be sought," Joly said.

On Monday, the government announced a new round of sanctions against those with ties to the Russian and Belarusian regimes. Canada is placing nine more Russians and nine Belarusians on its list "for having facilitated and enabled violations of Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence."

A dead body lies on the ground in a street in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

"There needs to be more sanctions and there will be more sanctions," said Joly.

"On the question of providing lethal weapons, of course my colleague Minister of Defence Anita Anand is working on many scenarios and I'll be supporting her while she does her work."

WATCH | Gruesome scenes emerge near Kyiv as Russian troops retreat

Gruesome scenes emerge near Kyiv as Russian troops retreat

3 months ago
Duration 5:06
WARNING: This video contains graphic footage. The devastation of war is nowhere more apparent than in Bucha, one of Kyiv's northern suburbs where streets are lined with the bodies of civilians and burnt combat vehicles.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again called on Russia to negotiate an agreement to end to the war.

"Dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has rejected the allegations and described scenes outside Kyiv as a "stage-managed anti-Russian provocation."

With files from the Associated Press

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