Horrifying images of mass killings and civilians lying dead in the street have emerged from previously Russian-occupied areas surrounding Kyiv.
As Putin’s troops withdraw from towns and villages around the Ukrainian capital, defending forces and news reporters were able to re-enter them for the first time since their capture.
They have been met with devastating scenes of bodies strewn across roads, with at least 280 victims found dead in the village of Bucha, according to the Mirror.
An AFP journalist reporting from the settlement counted dozens of dead, including one man whose hands were tied amongst the rubble and ruined buildings.
Their bodies littered the streets, greeting those who entered the village.
In the recaptured town of Bucha, reached by news agency Reuters, the sprawled remains of more than a dozen bodies lined one road.
A mass grave in the grounds of a church was still open, with hands and feet poking through the red clay heaped on top.
Bucha’s elder, Anatoliy Fedoruk, said more than 300 residents had been killed.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was appalled by atrocities in Bucha and voiced support for the International Criminal Court’s inquiry into potential war crimes in Ukraine.
Russia denies targeting civilians and rejects war crimes allegations.
The photos show the widespread destruction and horrific actions of the Russian armies amidst fears this is only the beginning.
A video believed to be of one such village shows Ukrainian troops having to slalom their trucks down the streets to avoid all the dead bodies that lay there.
The haunting images show a significant number of dead, cast across the street and at the road side with no one to move their bodies.
The video ends with two more bodies, of two people who died together.
More horrifying reports are coming from the liberated regions around Kyiv and in Kyiv Oblast.
Anastasiia Lapatina, a Ukrainian journalist, said: “Russians are shooting civilians after tying their hands behind their backs.
“Dead bodies are all over the Kyiv oblast, on the streets, in cars, in people’s yards. Mass graves are full of unidentified bodies.
“Many families will never know what happened to their loved ones.”
Another horrifying picture from Motizhin, in Kyiv Oblast, shows dead bodies half buried in what could be a mass grave.
Faces and limbs are sticking out of the dirt and sand where the bodies were dumped.
These shocking reports confirm the worst fears of many as the invasion continues into its fifth week.
There have long been reports of Russian atrocities from occupied territories but the new pictures are proof of what many feared.
BBC journalists found the bodies of civilians who were slaughtered by Russian troops in another part of Kyiv.
In Mria and Myla, both in the Kyiv Oblast, they counted a total of 13 dead bodies along a stretch of road.
It comes after Ukraine’s troops have retaken more than 30 towns and villages around Kyiv since Russia pulled back from the area this week, Ukrainian officials said.
“The whole Kyiv region is liberated from the invader,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said.
Ukraine’s armed forces reported diminished Russian air and missile strikes on Saturday but said Russian troops retreating from near Kyiv were deploying mines.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned in a video address: “They are mining all this territory. Houses are mined, equipment is mined, even the bodies of dead people.”
Ukraine’s emergencies service said over 1,500 explosives had been found in one day during a search of the village of Dmytrivka, west of Kyiv.
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