BUCHA (Ukraine) -- Workers exhumed bodies from a nearby burial ground near Bucha, Kyiv's outskirts, to contrast the lush green beauty and singing birds with the brutal deaths of recently discovered Russian war victims in Ukraine.
Many victims had their hands tied behind their backs. The grim work of digging up the remains coincided perfectly with the report of the Ukrainian police chief that authorities had opened criminal investigations into the murders of more than 12,000 Russians during the war.
White hazmat suits were worn by workers wearing masks. They used shovels to remove bodies from the forest soil. Each section was marked with small yellow numbers. The bodies were covered with dirt and cloth and dragged along by rope.
Andriy Negotov, chief of the Kyiv region police said that shots to the knees indicate that people were being tortured. "The taped hands behind the back indicate that people were held hostage for a long period of time, and (enemy) forces tried to obtain any information."
The authorities claim that they have found the remains of 1,316 people since the Russian troops left the area at the end March.
On Monday, reporters found a mass grave near Bucha. This was where the horrors and deaths of the Russian troops shocked the world. Reporters saw Monday's mass grave right behind a trench for a military vehicle. Seven civilians' bodies were found in the mass grave. Nebytov stated that two of the bodies had been found tied with gunshot wounds to their knees and heads.
Igor Klimenko, chief of the national police, told Interfax-Ukraine that criminal investigations into more than 12,000 deaths in Ukraine included those found in mass graves. He claimed that snipers fired from tanks and armored personnel carrier guns, resulting in mass killings. There were many bodies found on the streets, in people's homes, and in mass graves. He did not specify how many of the over 12,000 bodies were military or civilian.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, complete information is not available about the number bodies found in mass graves and elsewhere. Two children were killed in a Russian bombing in Mariupol's basement.
Zelenskyy is Jewish, and has lost family members in the Holocaust. He asked:
"Why is this happening 2022?" This is not 1940s. How can mass killings, torture, burning cities, and filtration camp setup by the Russian military on the occupied territories that resemble Nazi concentration camps be possible?
RUSSIA-UKRAINE WORRIES: MORE STORIES
Ukraine could be able to win the battle of Donbas.
The Mexican president condemns NATO's policy in Ukraine
Japan's philanthropic organization begins fundraising for Ukrainians
Amnesty International reported Monday that Russia was accused of using banned cluster munitions in strikes against Kharkiv, killing hundreds and injuring many others.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kharkiv (Ukraine's second-largest) has been under intense shelling.
Donatella Rovera is Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Response Advisor. She stated that "people have been killed at home and on the streets, in playgrounds, in cemeteries and in their homes, while waiting for humanitarian aid or shopping to buy food and medicine."
"The use of banned cluster munitions repeatedly is alarming and shows utter disregard for civilian lives," she said. She said that the Russian forces responsible for these horrendous attacks must be held accountable and that victims and their families should receive full compensation.
According to the group, evidence was found that Russian forces used 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions as well scatter mines repeatedly.
Monday's statement by the Russian military stated that it had destroyed "a large amount of weapons and military gear" that the Ukrainian forces received from the U.S. or Europe.
Igor Konashenkov, a Defense Ministry spokesperson, stated that "high-precision air launched missiles" struck the supplies near Udachna railway station in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Konashenkov stated that a "temporary deployment point for foreign militias" and a Ukrainian radar system of the Buk M1 anti-aircraft ballistic missile system were also destroyed in the Luhansk region.
Konashenkov stated that two batteries of multiple-launch rocket systems were destroyed at Luhansk, Kharkiv.
Serhiy Haidai, Luhansk governor, told The Associated Press that fighting continued Monday in Sievierodonetsk (one of the two largest cities in the region) as Russian troops continue to take control.
Haidai stated that Russians control 70% of the city and that Ukrainian forces are fighting back with "block after block, street by streets, house by house, with varying degrees of success."
The city is still home to more than 10,000 people, which has been the focus of fighting in the Donbas. Haidai stated that Russian troops had destroyed two bridges linking Sievierodonetsk to Lysychansk. This was the second city in Luhansk that has not been overrun by Moscow. According to the governor, the bridge that remains is unsafe and old.
Lysychansk is still under Ukrainian control but is frequently bombarded by Russian forces. Haidai stated that three civilians were killed in the city's shelling on Sunday. One of them was a 6-year old boy.
Eduard Basurin is an official of Russia-backed separatists forces based in Donetsk. He claimed Monday that Sievierodonetsk was blocked and Ukrainian fighters are forced to surrender. Haidai called the claim "a lie"
He stated that there is no danger of our troops being encircled within the Luhansk area.
Russia-backed separatists from the Donetsk area claimed Monday that Ukrainian forces had shelled a Donetsk market, killing three civilians and injuring 18.
The Dutch government has announced that it will host a ministerial meeting next month about accountability in Ukraine. This conference will focus on strengthening and co-ordinating war crimes investigations.
Monday's statement by Wopke Hoekstra, Foreign Minister, stated that the international community has already taken prompt action to investigate the alleged atrocities committed in Ukraine. There is an urgent need to coordinate efforts to ensure that justice-seeking actions are coordinated and efficient.
The Netherlands government, Karim Khan, International Criminal Court Prosecutor and Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice will host the July 14th meeting in The Hague.
Khan has already launched an investigation into Ukraine and sent his largest-ever team of prosecutors to the country in order to collect evidence. He also went to Bucha near Kyiv to find evidence. After the Russian forces fled the area, bodies littered the streets.
According to the Dutch foreign ministry, the conference will allow states and partners to share their efforts and outline a plan of collective action to ensure that gross violations and breaches of international humanitarian law are not overlooked.
Eurojust, the European Union judicial cooperation agency Eurojust, and the ICC will be using this conference to discuss guidelines for collecting and storing evidence by governments as well as collaboration with non-governmental organizations.
Follow the AP's coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine