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Zelensky accuses Russia of genocide

krainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine
Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday accused Russia of genocide while commenting on a U.S. Sunday morning show about reports of war crimes by Moscow as part of its invasion and occupation of parts of his country.

Zelensky’s remarks follow statements from Ukrainian officials about executions in areas surrounding Kyiv that Russian forces have drawn away from in recent days.

Officials pointed to photos of bodies on a street in Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv. One person photographed has a white cloth tying their hands behind their back.

“Indeed, this is genocide,” Zelensky told moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Russia has accused the photos in Bucha of being “fake.”

But the photos have led to sharp condemnations from NATO, with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg calling them “horrific.”

Zelensky told Brennan that Russia’s offensive has represented “the destruction and extermination” of people of more than 100 nationalities in Ukraine.

“We are the citizens of Ukraine. We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities,” Zelensky said.

“We are the citizens of Ukraine and we don’t want to be subdued to the policy of Russian Federation. This is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated, and this is happening in the Europe of the 21st century. So this is the torture of the whole nation,” he added.

The president also reflected on the scenes of coming out of Ukraine, questioning the execution of children amid the conflict.

“When we find people with, with hands tied behind their back and decapitated. Such things I don’t understand. I don’t comprehend the kids who were killed and tortured,” Zelensky said.

“So it wasn’t enough just to kill for those criminals. Maybe they wanted to take gold or washing machines and they were killing, but they were also torturing them as they did this,” he added.

Russia in recent days has withdrawn troops from cities and towns surrounding Kyiv, though it is not clear what the movements portend.

Speculation has centered on Moscow renewing its efforts in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces have retaken some of the places where Russian troops have withdrawn, a shift that has coincided with the new allegations of crimes by Russian troops.

Updated 1:42 p.m.

Tags Jens Stoltenberg Margaret Brennan Volodymyr Zelensky
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