Ukraine’s prosecutor has accused 10 Russian soldiers of atrocities in the town of Bucha, where evidence of mass killings was uncovered.
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said the 10 soldiers from Russia‘s 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Ground Forces Brigade who occupied the Kyiv suburb were “involved in the torture of peaceful people”.
In her post on Facebook she did not specifically say her office had filed criminal charges, but appealed to the public to help develop evidence.
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Moscow has denied it targeted civilians.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently honoured the brigade’s work.
Ms Venediktova said the president bears responsibility for the soldiers’ actions as their commander-in-chief.
“During the occupation of Bucha, they took unarmed civilians hostage, killed them with hunger and thirst, kept them on their knees with hands tied and eyes taped, mocked and beat them,” Ms Venediktova said.
She added that the Russian soldiers threatened to shoot the hostages and looted houses.
The accused soldiers were named as Vasily Knyazev, Semyon Maltsev, Andrei Biyazev, Sergei Peskarev, Grigory Naryshkin, Dmitry Sergienko, Vyacheslav Lavrentyev, Albert Radnaev, Mikhail Kashin and Nikita Akimov.
UN chief calls for war crimes probe
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who visited Bucha on Thursday, called for a thorough investigation of alleged war crimes.
Ukrainian authorities have said they are investigating thousands of possible war crimes, including the killing of civilians, the bombing of civilian infrastructure, torture, sexual crimes and the use of prohibited weaponry.
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In his nightly video address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed his pledge to hold Russian soldiers accountable for crimes.
Discussing the 10 suspects identified, he said: “Some of them may not, after all, live until a trial and fair punishment. But only for one reason: This Russian brigade has been transferred to the Kharkiv region. There, they’ll receive retribution from our military.”
UK to send war crimes experts to Ukraine
Meanwhile the UK said it would send a team of experts to Ukraine to help local authorities investigate reports of war crimes.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the team, which includes experts in conflict-related sexual violence, would arrive in Poland in early May.
“Russia has brought barbarity to Ukraine and committed vile atrocities, including against women,” Ms Truss said.
“British expertise will help uncover the truth and hold Putin’s regime to account for its actions. Justice will be done.”