Ukraine’s Zelensky warns situation in Borodyanka is ‘significantly more dreadful’ than in Bucha

News comes as Russia suspended from UN Human Rights Council

Andrew Buncombe
Chief US Correspondent
Thursday 07 April 2022 23:16 BST
Zelensky accuses Russian army of killing and 'torturing' civilians in Bucha

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the situation in the town of Borodyanka is “significantly more dreadful’” than in nearby Bucha.

As the country girded itself for new attacks in the east, the nation’s leader issued a new and stark warning in an update to the population.

He said the situation in the town of Borodyanka, about 50 miles northwest of Kyiv, may have suffered a worse fate even than that of Bucha, that has been the focus of international outcry in recent days, after scores of atrocities were revealed when Russian troops pulled out.

He said the situtation in Borodyanka, about 15 miles from Bucha, was “significantly more dreadful”.

Such an assessment would match with claims from the BBC and other media outlets that have visited there in recent days.

On Wednesday, the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen, wrote that of the handful of towns situated to the north west of the capital, including Bucha and Irpin, the damage inflicted upon Borodyanka was the most extensive.

“The destruction in the centre of Borodyanka is the worst for its size I have seen in any of the towns around Kyiv, including Irpin and Bucha, which were much fought over,” he said.

“Down the main street from the roundabout at the entrance to the town there is a massive amount of damage. Destroyed and burnt-out buildings, homes turned to rubble, the twisted wreckage of cars, and then more collapsed buildings.”

He added: “Borodyanka, which is not far from the border with Belarus and was on the main axis of the Russian advance on Kyiv, has been very heavily shelled.

“It is not the kind of shelling that happens in a couple of bombardments. This takes application.”

Wladimir Klitschko calls Bucha killings 'genocide of Ukrainian population'

Meanwhile, National Public Radio, whose reporters also visited the town, said “nearly every building along this town’s main street is damaged or destroyed: shops, houses, pharmacies, banks, all with blackened walls and blown-out windows”.

The developments will be of deep concern to all those watching the situation unfold in Ukraine, after the withdrawal of Russian forces from the area around Kyiv permitted the discovery of scores of bodies, that had been shot or burned. Mr Zelensky and other world leaders have labelled the killings as war crimes.

Russia has denied the claims and instead said and killings were carried out by Ukrainian forces in order to make Moscow look bad.

Cemetery workers unload bodies of killed civilians from a van in the cemetery in Bucha
Cemetery workers unload bodies of killed civilians from a van in the cemetery in Bucha (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The warning from Mr Zelensky came as the UN General Assembly voted on Thursday to suspend Russia from the world organisation’s leading human rights body over allegations of rights violations in Ukraine.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the vote to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council was an “historic moment”.

“We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored and that Russia must be held accountable,” she said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned that despite a recent Russian pullback, the country remained vulnerable, and pleaded for “weapons, weapons and weapons” from Nato, as Russian forces apparently regrouped in preparation for an assault in the east of the country.

“How many Buchas have to take place for you to impose sanctions,” Mr Kuleba said.

“How many children, women, men, have to die - innocent lives have to be lost – for you to understand that you cannot allow sanctions fatigue, as we cannot allow fighting fatigue?”

Ukrainian officials said earlier this week that the bodies of 410 civilians were found in towns around the capital city. Volunteers have spent days collecting the corpses, and more were picked up in Bucha on Thursday.

Additional reporting by agencies

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