RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday and likely discuss allegations of war crimes committed by Russia following the discovery of executions and mass graves.
World leaders have expressed growing outrage after seeing reports of dead Ukrainian civilians – many of whom appear to have been executed – strewn across Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv. Photos of bodies lining the streets and satellite images of mass graves surfaced for the first time on Saturday after Russian forces withdrew from their positions outside the Ukrainian capital. Having witnessed the atrocities, Zelenskyy will address the Security Council on Tuesday morning.
Barbara Woodward, Britain’s ambassador to the UN, told reporters on Monday that Tuesday’s meeting will force council members to face “the real reality” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“What is important about this meeting is that it will be the first opportunity for the Security Council to discuss the images that we saw in Bucha, which you heard widely this weekend, described both as war crimes and as genocide,” Woodward said. noted.
We will use our presidency of the Security Council to ensure transparency, accountability and justice. pic.twitter.com/eyQoDne7tX
— Ambassador Barbara Woodward (@BWoodward_UN) April 4, 2022
She also said the UK ‘strongly supports’ US efforts to suspend Russia’s voting rights at the UN Human Rights Council, championed by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador at the UN.
“Russia should not occupy a position of authority in this body, nor should we allow Russia to use its role in the Council as a propaganda tool to suggest that it has a legitimate concern. about human rights. In fact, we see heartbreaking reports every day, including yesterday, of how little interest they have in human rights,” Thomas-Greenfield said during a press conference in Romania on Monday. “Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council is a farce. It damages the credibility of the Council and the UN as a whole. And it is simply wrong. That is why we believe that it is time for the United Nations General Assembly to suspend them.”
Despite what appears to be overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Russian officials continue to deny any wrongdoing and have labeled the photos and reports as Western-staged propaganda, NPR previously reported. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday the footage had been manipulated, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the events in Bucha “staged”.
Despite his best efforts, world leaders do not buy into the Russian narrative. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to do everything in his power to “starve Putin’s war machine”, promising increased sanctions against Russia and additional humanitarian support for Ukraine.
President Joe Biden also doubled down on Monday, calling for additional sanctions and again calling Putin a war criminal. “This guy is brutal,” the president said. “And what is happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone has seen it.”
In a speech earlier on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said he would push for a thorough account of the behavior of Russian military forces. He also said he believed the number of civilians tortured and killed at the hands of the Russians was far higher than reported. “The occupiers did things that the locals didn’t see even during the Nazi occupation 80 years ago,” he said.
“The time will come when every Russian will learn the whole truth about who of his fellow citizens killed. Who gave orders. Who turned a blind eye to the killings,” Zelenskyy said. “We will establish all of this. And make it known to the whole world.”