This is what a CNN team at the scene of a mass grave in the Ukrainian town of Bucha saw

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 2.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, April 2. (Ukraine Presidential Press Office / AP)

“This is genocide,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday, speaking after appearance image of civil authorities scattered on the streets of Bucha, northwest of the capital Kyiv, after Russian forces withdrew from the area.

When asked during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” whether Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine, Zelensky replied: “Indeed. This is genocide. “

He continued: “The destruction of the entire nation, and its people. We are citizens of Ukraine. We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and destruction of all these countries.” .

Ukraine does not want “to submit to the policy of the Russian Federation”, Zelensky said, adding that this “is the reason why we are destroyed and destroyed.”

“This is happening in Europe of the 21st century. So this is the torture of the whole nation,” the president stressed to viewers.

Alleged atrocities in Bucha drew international outragewith Western leaders calling for war crimes investigations and new sanctions against Russia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken say sunday that the State Department would help document any atrocities committed by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the deaths of civilians in Bucha a “brutal” and said “I very much welcome” an investigation by the International Criminal Court, which has been opened. an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine.

Russia’s response: The Russian Defense Ministry declared the extended footage “fake”, saying that “not a single local resident suffered any acts of violence” during Russia’s occupation of Bucha. “In the settlements of the Kiev region, Russian servicemen delivered and distributed 452 tons of humanitarian aid to civilians,” the statement said.

A separate statement confirmed the footage was staged. “Stories about Bucha appeared in several foreign media at the same time, looking like a planned media campaign,” the statement said. “Taking into account that the army left the city on March 30, where is the footage for four days? Their absence only confirms the forgery.”

The Russian government has repeatedly responded to allegations of civilian casualties caused by Russian forces with outright denials. After the Russian air force bombed a maternity hospital on March 9, Russian officials attempted to cast doubt on widespread media reports, with a Russian diplomat accusing the victim of bombing – a woman who escaped the bombing, bloody and still pregnant – is an actor, not a real victim.

CNN was unable to independently confirm the details surrounding the men’s deaths. CNN has requested comment from the Russian Defense Ministry on the alleged execution of civilians in the Kyiv region and other parts of Ukraine.

CNN’s Nathan Hodge, Chandelis Duster, and Jeremy Herb contributed reporting to this post.

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