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New Sanctions Proposed After Bucha Discovery

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A mass grave found in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. | Image by Rodrigo Abd via The Tribune Democrat

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A gruesome discovery outside of the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv has prompted the call for more sanctions against Russia. U.S. President Joe Biden urges that a war-crimes trial be brought against Russian President Vladimir Putin after the weekend’s discovery of a mass grave in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv.

In addition to the mass grave, images obtained on Sunday also showed dead bodies littering the streets of the town of Bucha, located outside Ukraine’s capital city.

According to Ukrainian government officials, they have counted over 400 civilian deaths in the suburbs of Kyiv, a city considered to have been relatively protected during the ongoing war. Some of the bodies found allegedly showed evidence of torture or execution, further raising the international community’s ire.

“You saw what happened in Bucha. [Putin] is a war criminal,” Biden said to reporters. “But we have to gather information; we have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue to fight.”

While the president had previously labeled Putin a war criminal on March 17, the White House said that at the time, he was speaking personally and not calling for a formal indictment.

Just six days later, the U.S. government formally accused Putin and his forces of war crimes, signaling that it was collecting evidence in the case.

On the 40th day of conflict, the call for more sanctions on Russia intensified due to the latest revelations of the country’s brutality.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron described the discovery as “unbearable,” also saying that he supported hitting Russia with additional sanctions now that it is clear that they have committed war crimes.

Joining Macron in the call for more sanctions is the German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. While Germany had previously been more hesitant to cut off trade with Russia, it is now sending signs that it may support a ban on Russian gas. The Germans’ decision to participate in a ban would be a significant one, as their country receives over half of its gas from Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video address, warning the world that more terrible images are to come, particularly from the newly liberated areas, as the Ukrainians push the Russians out in some parts of the country. Zelenskyy spent part of the day Monday walking through what remained of Bucha, asking the media to come to the ruins to show the world the atrocities that have taken place in this area.

Zelenskyy said that he would set up a unique judicial process that involves the participation of global prosecutors and judges. The goal of this agency will be to investigate and document these alleged war crimes independently.

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