Moscow was last night accused of genocide, after Russian forces fledglings left horrendous evidence of civilian executions, rapes and mass graves.

The barbarity of Vladimir Putin’s soldiers was compared to the atrocities of the Nazis and Stalin’s Great Terror as the horrors of Second World War returned to Europe.

Prosecutors in Ukraine claimed that they found 410 corpses near Kyiv. Some witnesses could not speak because they were traumatized.

Bucha was one of the more than thirty towns and suburbanities that were liberated recently, with two mass graves.

A small town in north Kyiv was littered by bodies of civilians with bullet wounds to the head and hands.

Survivors emerging from basements after weeks underground told of summary executions, sexual violence and terror not seen since Joseph Stalin’s Soviet rule of terror in the 1930s.

Bucha was dubbed the ‘New Srebrenica’ in reference to the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslims during the Bosnian War. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko accused the Russian state of ‘genocide’.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned Russia’s actions and accused Vladimir Putin and his army of committing war crimes in Ukraine by carrying out ‘despicable attacks against innocent civilians’.

Together with NATO Secretary-General, Britain, France and Germany demanded that an international investigation be launched into Russian “war crimes” allegations. Meanwhile, Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas declared: ‘It’s not a battlefield, it’s a crime scene’ in reference to the horrific images.


The body of a man, with his wrists tied behind his back, lies on a street in Bucha, just northwest of the capital Kyiv. The bodies of civilians were found in Bucha and Irpin as Russian troops left the areas

One street in Bucha is where a body found its way to the city, near Kyiv. It was found with his wrists crossed behind his back. As Russian troops fled the area, civilian bodies were discovered in Bucha or Irpin.

Boris Johnson has condemned Russia's despicable attacks' on Ukrainians living in the besieged cities of Bucha and Irpin after a van with 'children' written on it was found riddled with bullet holes

Boris Johnson condemns Russia’s deplorable attack’s on Ukrainians living under siege in Bucha, Irpin. After a van marked ‘children’ was discovered filled with bullet holes, it bore a message from Russia.

Was there any massacre at Srebrenica? 

Srebrenica was a massacre that saw over 8,000 Muslim males and girls killed.

It took place in Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The massacre was committed during the Bosnian War of 1995.

This was widely regarded as one of the most horrific acts of mass killing in Europe since World War II. It also helped to galvanize Western nations into requesting a ceasefire, which ended three years worth of war. 

Since July 11th, thousands of Bosniaks fled Srebrenica to seek safety. However, Bosnian Serb forces falsely promised them that they would surrender the next morning.

Many were executed after thousands surrendered or were captured.

Women, children and the elderly were taken on buses to Bosniak territory.

On the evening of July 13, mass executions began for both boys and men.

Many people were reported to have been shot in a Branjevo farm.

It was:

  • Russia shaved the heads of female prisoners of war in chilling echoes of the Nazis’ treatment of women in concentration camps;
  • The Russian defence ministry shamelessly suggested photos of civilians their troops had slaughtered were ‘fake’ and part of a ‘planned media campaign’;
  • In the United States, more war crimes have been reported. This includes the rape of minors as well as the use of children to protect themselves.
  • Fears grew for 11 community leaders kidnapped by retreating Russians after one of them was reportedly ‘killed in captivity’, and;
  • Human Rights Watch has compiled a list listing war crimes, including summary executions, repeated rapes, and violence against civilians in Ukraine.

Taras Kuzio, research fellow at human rights group the Henry Jackson Society, said: ‘The Soviet looting of eastern Europe and Germany during World War Two is repeated in Ukraine. Reminiscent of Stalin’s Great Terror, 300 men and boys as young as 14 were murdered by Russian soldiers in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.

‘Soviet soldiers raped upwards of two million German women of all ages during World War Two. Russian soldiers are currently raping Ukrainian children as young at ten. It is time for the West to stop Putin.’

Mr Zelensky said: ‘This is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people.’

Mr Klitschko said pictures of the devastation were ‘painful to see’. He added: ‘They are killing civilians, they kill children, women.’

Fears of a genocidal plot grew as it was claimed Russia adopted a ‘state technical standard for digging and maintaining mass graves’ weeks before the invasion.

Troops were taught how to build the huge burial grounds for 1,000 corpses in just three days in a policy that came into effect on February 1 – three weeks before they marched on Ukraine.

Observers fear it could suggest Putin had ‘planned genocide’ in Ukraine on a scale ‘unseen since World War Two’.

Russia pulled out the cities Kyiv and Chernihiv last Friday. They lost over 30 towns and advanced up to 25 miles.

The horrors of Russian occupation were exposed as survivors emerged from underground hiding spots.

Bucha’s suburban community of 28,000 inhabitants was hit hard by the bombings and saw bodies line the streets.

Images too disturbing to publish show the man’s body bound in a sewer and then thrown away.

Bodies piled up in the back of a van in Bucha

A mass grave in Bucha, a suburb located on the outskirts of the Ukraine capital Kyiv

A group of communist workers was seen transporting bodies from civilians who were killed in the bombardment by Russian troops at Bucha to a van.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko (right) talks with people in the town of Bucha alongside his brother Wladimir Klitschko (left)

Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko (right) talks with people in the town of Bucha alongside his brother Wladimir Klitschko (left)

Ukrainian Soldiers inspect destroyed Russian military machinery in Bucha after recapturing the town from Russian forces

Ukrainian soldiers examine the Russian military machinery that was destroyed in Bucha, after they retook the city from Russian forces

Pictured: Ukrainian refugees look out a bus window as they leave their homes in the commuter town of Bucha on April 3

Pictured: Ukrainian refugees look out the window of a bus as they depart their homes in Bucha (commuter town), April 3.

Some were left behind by the railroad station, others along the sides of the street. In civilian clothes, 20 people were found with their hands tied behind their backs on one street. A boy aged 14 was one of these.

A third photo featured three men with their arms crossed, lying on the roadside near a stack of wooden pallets.

Bucha’s mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, said: ‘All these people were shot, killed, in the back of the head.’

He claimed ‘entire families… children, women, grandmothers, men’ were murdered trying to escape.

More bodies were found in nearby Irpin (another Russian commuter city that was evacuated by Russia last week). ‘They shot girls and women, and then ran over them in a tank,’ said its mayor Alexander Markushyn. Ukraine and the other post-Soviet countries haven’t forgotten these historical resonances.

Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas said: ‘Photos of murdered civilians in Irpin and Bucha by Russian troops recall the mass killing by Soviet and Nazi regimes. This is not a battlefield, it’s a crime scene.’

Experts in military affairs said that mass murders were consistent Russian tactics during the 1999-2000 second Chechen war.

Jack Watling, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said: ‘This was the plan, it was premeditated. If the Russian military had been more successful there would have been more towns like it.’ But Russia dismissed the pictures of atrocities as ‘fake’.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described evidence of Russian war crimes as ‘a punch to the gut’.

As the war moves into a new phase, the atrocities will likely weaken the resolve of the West to see Ukraine win against Russia.

A Ukrainian soldier waves the country's flag at a checkpoint in Bucha, not far from the capital city of Kyiv, on Saturday, April 2

At a Bucha checkpoint not far from Kyiv’s capital, a Ukrainian soldier waved the flag of the country at Saturday, April 2.

A man looks over a mass grave in Bucha. Western nations, including the UK, have accused Vladimir Putin and the Russian forces of carrying out 'despicable attacks' there

One man stands over the Bucha mass grave. Western nations including the UK accuse Vladimir Putin of committing ‘despicable attacks’ on Bucha.

Tanya Nedashkivska reacts as she mourns her husband Vasyl Ivanovych, who served in the navy, and was killed by Russian soldiers, next to his grave at the garden of their residential building in Bucha

Tanya Nedashkivska reacts to the death of her husband Vasyl, a navy veteran, near the grave in their Bucha garden.

A Ukrainian soldier carries a machine gun salvaged from a destroyed Russian military machinery in the areas recaptured by the Ukrainian army

An Ukrainian soldier has a machine pistol that was salvaged from the destroyed Russian military machinery. It is located in areas captured by the Ukrainian army.

A woman carrying two shopping bags walks past a destroyed Russian army tank, not far from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

One woman with two shopping bags passes a damaged Russian tank near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Ukrainian refugees look out of a bus window as they are taken away from the areas surrounding Kyiv following a Russian troop withdrawal

After a Russian troop withdrawal, Ukrainian refugees are seen looking out from a bus window.

Ukrainian soldiers inspect destroyed Russian military machinery in the areas recaptured by the Ukrainian army on Sunday

Ukrainian soldiers examine the destroyed Russian military machinery that was taken by the Ukrainian army in areas retaken by them on Sunday

Associated Press journalists in Bucha saw the bodies of at least nine people in civilian clothes who appeared to have been killed at close range. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs

Bucha journalists from the Associated Press saw bodies in civilian clothing of nine victims who seemed to have been shot at close range. At least two of the victims had their hands bound behind their backs

Conservative MP and former Army officer Johnny Mercer said the war crimes were ‘the end of the line’ for those opposed to increasing military support. Ukraine will receive its first tanks. These are necessary to defeat Russian forces in Donbas (the eastern region occupied by proRussian separatists).

Poland is interested in providing T-72 tanks to Ukraine, as they are familiar with their use. Other Nato members are expected to ‘backfill’ tanks to Poland.

Russia could also be sanctioned with more severe economic sanctions if it is proven that the Ukraine atrocities were committed. The Kremlin still has not commented publicly on genocide claims.

Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said: ‘This is the most barbaric example yet of Russia taking full advantage of the West’s timidity to step up.

‘We condemn from afar, but fail to act as these war crimes in this horrendous war clock up. Until we offer Ukraine far greater direct support, Putin’s war machine will continue with impunity.’

Another chilling reminder of the Second World War was that 15 female prisoners were sent home in prisoner swaps with their heads shaved. Ukraine’s foreign ministry compared the treatment to that of the Nazis in concentration camps. Human Rights Watch has compiled details of war crimes based on survivors’ testimonies.

A woman hugs a Ukrainian serviceman after a convoy of military and aid vehicles arrived in the formerly Russian-occupied Kyiv suburb of Bucha

After a convoy arrived in Bucha, a Ukrainian military vehicle and military vehicles arrived. A Ukrainian woman is seen hugging a Ukrainian soldier.

An elderly woman cries near her house in Bucha where the mayor said 280 people had been buried in a mass grave and that the area is littered with corpses

A Bucha woman, an elderly lady, cries as the mayor says that 280 people were buried in one mass grave. The area is littered in corpses.

Workers were seen clearing a number of bodies that had been lining the streets of Bucha on Sunday morning

On Sunday, workers were seen clearing out a variety of bodies that had been lined the streets in Bucha.

Four people, all thought to be civilians, were found dead under a blanket on the side of a highway close to Bucha, Ukraine

The bodies of four people were discovered under blankets on the roadside near Bucha in Ukraine.

A man walks with bags of food gave for the Ukranian army in Bucha. Former heavyweight champion boxer Wladimir Klitschko visited Bucha to accuse Putin of 'genocide' after mass graves filled with civilian corpses were found after Russian troops left the Kyiv suburb

Unarmed man walks in Bucha carrying bags full of food for the Ukranian military. Wladimir Klitschko, a former heavyweight champion boxer, visited Bucha to denounce Putin for ‘genocide.’ After mass graves containing civilian bodies were discovered in the Kyiv suburb after Russian troops had left, Klitschko was taken to Bucha.

A member of a civilian defence force looks underneath a blanket where four people, all thought to be civilians, were found dead near Bucha

Unidentified civilian defense force member looks under a blanket that covers four bodies, thought to all civilians.

A Ukrainian serviceman uses a piece of wood to check if the body of a man dressed in civilian clothing is booby-trapped with explosive devices

Ukrainian soldier uses a piece wood to determine if a civilian-clothed man is being booby-trapped using explosives.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko (R) talks with people in the town of Bucha, near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv

Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor (R), talks to people living in Bucha near Kyiv.

A Ukrainian soldier passes by destroyed Russian tanks in the village of Dmytrivka close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Apr. 2, 2022. As Russian forces pull back from Ukraine's capital region, retreating troops are creating a 'catastrophic' situation for civilians by leaving mines around homes, abandoned equipment and 'even the bodies of those killed,' Zelensky warned Saturday

Sat., April 2nd, 2019, a Ukrainian soldier passed by damaged Russian tanks near Kyiv (Ukraine). 2, 2022. Retreated troops from Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine’s capital area are creating a “catastrophic” situation for civilians. They leave mines near homes and abandoned equipment, as well as ‘even bodies of those who were killed,” Zelensky said Saturday.

Five men were forced to kneel by Russian soldiers in Bucha. They pulled their shirts up over their heads, and then shot them in their backs.

Another woman in the town said Russian soldiers took her and 40 others to a square to witness a similar scene with four men – although this time just one of them was shot. A commander then shouted: ‘We are here to cleanse you from the dirt.’

Staryi Bykiv (east of Kyiv): A mother watched Russians arrest her son and five others and kill them right in front of her.

Hugh Williamson, of Human Rights Watch, said: ‘The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians.

‘Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes.’

Another woman claimed that she was repeatedly raped by a Russian soldier in Kharkiv.

Zaporizhia’s medical personnel have stated that they have seen Mariupol girls with injuries that suggest they were sexually assaulted.

The UK’s ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, said: ‘Rape is a weapon of war. Though we don’t yet know the full extent of its use in Ukraine it’s already clear it was part of Russia’s arsenal.’

Russia has also been accused by Ukraine of using children as ‘human shields’ in the village of Novyi Bykiv, close to Chernihiv.

The horrors of WWII are reborn.

Ian Birrell is the Mail On Sunday’s Editor

The images that have emerged after Russia’s retreat from the outskirts of Kyiv are haunting, harrowing and a hideous reminder of the darkest chapters from Europe’s history.

One picture shows a lonely woman walking through the rubble of Russian tanks and the flattened Bucha buildings, which are near Kyiv. This suburban area is almost indistinguishable from just a few weeks ago.

A second picture shows a soldier prodding with a stick at a corpse to check if it’s booby-trapped. The third picture depicts female soldiers who were released from prisoner swaps and returned to Ukraine. Captors have humiliated them by shaving their heads to remove any dignity.

One shows a solitary woman walking past burnt-out Russian tanks amid the flattened buildings of Bucha, near Kyiv, the suburban town now almost unrecognisable from a few short weeks ago

One picture shows a lonely woman passing by a number of Russian tanks, amongst the flattened buildings in Bucha. It is Bucha near Kyiv. The suburban city that was almost unknown a few weeks back.

These are just a handful of the grotesque images of streets liberated by Ukrainian troops after they forced back Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Many pictures from the capital’s outskirts are too distressing to publish. Mass graves are being claimed. 

Men’s corpses with their hands bound behind them, or shot in the head. 

A mass grave containing bodies of bicyclers and children was found in a European capital once crowded with shops, cafes, and schools.

Some people lie down on the sidewalk. Others died from flames while trapped inside their vehicles. Many others gaze up into the sky as though screaming anguishfully at the horrors caused by the Russian invasion, which began 40 days earlier.

Of course, they were not soldiers. These innocent people were the victims of atrocities that are beyond comprehension. They were human beings whose lives ended in terror at the behest of a blood-stained monster bidding to revive his nation’s imperial past. Many were found lying on the streets of Bucha among the sinister litter of war – destroyed tanks, spent bullet casings, shattered glass, shards of artillery shells.

Professionals looking for more space than what they can find in central London sought this suburb. This is a haven for families who live on the outskirts of major cities.

But now the name of Bucha is testament to Putin’s barbarity – another unwanted reminder of man’s potential for evil in a conflict that has already thrown up too many uncomfortable parallels with the Second World War.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the scenes emerging from towns in the Kyiv region exposed a ‘post-apocalyptic picture’ of life under Russian occupation that he likened to a horror film.

Putin was certain that he would quickly destroy Ukraine. One mayor told me their battlefield souvenirs include bottles of vodka with a special label for airborne forces ‘to drink for their victory’ along with ceremonial uniforms and orchestral instruments for a planned triumphant parade in Kyiv.

Another picture reveals a soldier nervously prodding a body with a stick to see if it is booby-trapped

Another image shows a soldier probing a body with his stick to check if it has been booby trapped.

There are plans to make Russian mass graves that can hold up to 1000 bodies. These will be covered with chemicals, and driven into the ground by bulldozers.

Instead Russia’s military machine was forced back, leaving the Kremlin to bleat pathetically that Ukraine is spreading fake images for the Western media relying on actors pretending to be dead.

Moscow claims that during the time Bucha was under its control, no civilians suffered and no civilian buildings were destroyed – just as they deny targeting innocent people in the hell of explosions raining down in the port of Mariupol. Only the deluded among travellers around the world can be deceived. Human Rights Watch said yesterday that it has documented allegations of Russian war crimes that include ‘repeated rape’ and ‘summary executions’.

According to Bucha’s police, one man was shot at the back of the head from the roadside. In a town close to Chernihiv, six men were rounded up and executed by Putin’s goons.

A third image (above) portrays female soldiers returned to Ukraine in a prisoner swap. Their heads have been shaved in humiliation by captors trying to strip them of dignity

The third picture (above), shows female soldiers returning to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange. Captors have humiliated them by shaving their heads to remove any dignity.

A village close to Kharkiv has evidence of a woman being repeatedly raped by the school in which she sought shelter.

‘The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,’ said Hugh Williamson, Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia director.

‘Rape, murder and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces’ custody should be investigated as war crimes.’

Of course, he is correct. They are war crimes and crimes against humanity of the greatest magnitude. Yet so was the very act of invasion when Putin sent his troops over the border of a sovereign nation on the basis of risible claims about ‘denazification’.

Never forget he unleashed this war supposedly to liberate his brothers and sisters in the Russky Mir (‘Russian World’) that he claimed were victims of a fascist coup – although in reality, he was terrified of a vibrant democracy emerging on his doorstep in case it fuelled dissent among his own repressed citizens.

These pictures demonstrate again how Putin has turned his nation into a pariah state – and deserves to be in the dock facing charges of war crimes before swapping his £10,000 puffer jacket for a set of prison fatigues.

Clearly Russia’s troops are carrying out atrocities – yet ultimately, all the deaths, destroyed cities, raped women and slaughtered children can be blamed on one man: the killer in the Kremlin who launched this unwanted war.