As proof of atrocities purportedly committed by Russian forces in Ukraine emerges, US Vice President Joe Biden has urged for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be punished for war crimes.
The reported slaughter of residents in Bucha, a village near Kyiv’s capital, has sparked international outrage.
Mr. Biden described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “brutal,” adding that he believes Putin is a “war criminal.”
Russia claimed that photographs of crimes were fabricated by Ukraine without providing any evidence.
Officials from the United States said they are backing a team of foreign prosecutors headed to Bucha to gather evidence.
After the bodies of 410 people were discovered in locations around Kyiv, the Ukrainian authorities launched a war crimes inquiry. Some were buried in mass graves, while others were found with their hands tied and shot at close range.
Russian forces are also suspected of killing a village chief, her husband, and her son in the hamlet of Motoyzhyn for assisting Ukrainian troops in the area, according to Kyiv officials.
“You may recall that I was chastised for referring to Putin as a war criminal,” Mr Biden remarked. “You’ve seen what happened in Bucha; he’s a war criminal… But we need to gather all the details so that a war crimes trial may be held.”
Mr. Biden called the Bucha discovery “outrageous” and said Mr. Putin must be “held accountable” for the atrocities committed by his military in Ukraine.
He also stated that he plans to pursue additional penalties on Russia.
Mr Biden’s involvement comes as the earth observation company Maxar released additional satellite photographs showing bodies littering Bucha’s streets during Russian forces’ occupancy.
The New York Times analyzed the images and found at least 11 bodies on the streets on March 11, when Russia captured the city.
The US State Department claimed it had reliable accusations of Russian forces raping, torturing, and carrying out summary executions as part of a “broader, alarming campaign” by Moscow.
International prosecutors will assist the prosecutor general of Ukraine’s war crimes unit at Ukraine’s request.
“There are tales and photographs of a terrible litany of atrocities,” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, said.
The Pentagon stated it was “pretty evident” that Russia was behind the Bucha atrocities, but that more study was needed to determine which troops were involved.
During a televised address on Monday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of war crimes and suggested that Mr Putin’s authority would try to hide proof of more atrocities.
“I’m sure you’re aware of Russian propagandists’ new old tactics of continually trying to refute Russian military charges,” Zelensky remarked.
“They’re doing the same thing now.” The same deception exists. They’re attempting to skew the facts. But, like before, they will fail. They won’t be able to fool the entire planet.”
In response to the discovery in Bucha, France and Germany declared on Monday that they will remove Russian officials.
The expulsion of 40 envoys, according to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, was in response to the Kremlin’s “unbelievable savagery” in Ukraine.
The French authorities stated that “many” Russians will be expelled, but did not specify how many.
Lithuania said that the Russian ambassador would be expelled, citing atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
Moscow’s UN envoy said Russia would submit the UN Security Council with “empirical proof” proving that Western comments about the events in Bucha were false.
Vasily Nebenzya accused Ukraine and its “Western sponsors” of manufacturing evidence and carrying out a false flag attack on its own people at a press conference in New York.
Witnesses in Bucha have reported Russian military firing on fleeing individuals after they refused to let them leave through humanitarian corridors.
At least 20 males were discovered dead in the street, several of them had severe wounds. Some had been executed by being shot through the temple, while others had been obviously driven over by tanks.
Maxar’s satellite photographs reveal a 14m (45ft) mass burial near the church of St Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints in the city.