Apr 4, 2022 - World

Bucha mayor says "we will not forgive" Russians for alleged atrocities

Ukrainian soldier inspects the wreckage of a destroyed Russian armored column on the road in Bucha

A Ukrainian soldier inspects a destroyed Russian armored column on the road in Bucha. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The mayor of Bucha, Anatoliy Fedoruk, detailed the city's destruction during an interview with CNN on Monday, saying Ukrainians "will not forgive" Russians for the alleged atrocities committed there.

Driving the news: As Ukrainian forces retook the Kyiv region and northern areas of the country over the weekend, officials and independent photographers have reported bodies of civilians — some with their hands tied behind their backs — strewn in the streets of the city of Bucha.

  • Satellite images show a 45-foot-long trench on the grounds of a church in Bucha, where a mass grave was found after Russian troops withdrew.

State of play: Fedoruk told CNN that "half the city is destroyed," and that work is being done to de-mine the streets and houses of Bucha and restore social infrastructure as the city transitions "from a war footing to peacetime living."

  • "We are also working on identifying the bodies of the people who were shot dead in our city. They were indiscriminately killed by the Russian occupiers. A lot of them are elderly people," he said.
  • Referring to Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Fedoruk added, "We get the impression that the Russian occupiers have got the green light from Putin and Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister, to have a safari in Ukraine, and they weren't able to take Kyiv, so they vented their frustration on Bucha and the surrounding areas."
  • Russia's Ministry of Defense has rejected the reports.

The big picture: Only about 2,500-3,000 people remained in the town during the month Russian troops occupied it, Fedoruk said.

  • "We all were witnesses to the horrific events and the horrific crimes that the Russians committed here."
  • "We will never forgive the Russian people — not personally, not individually, but on the whole — we will not forgive the Russian people for the atrocities that happened here."
  • Fedoruk estimated that officials have been able to identify roughly 50% of the slain civilians so far.

What they're saying: "We will rebuild the cities, but we also will keep the memory, we will keep the memory of what our people have gone through — that will never die, that will always stay with us."

  • Fedoruk predicted that the events of Bucha are just the beginning, adding, "I think we're going to expect to see the same picture on the entire territory, from Kyiv to Mariupol and Kherson."
  • "This is the so-called 'denazification' that Russian President Putin mentioned, but it's actually dehumanization of Ukrainians."

Go deeper: Dashboard: Russian invasion of Ukraine

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include that Russia's Ministry of Defense has denied the reports.

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