War in Ukraine: Street in Bucha found strewn with dead bodies

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Media caption,

Evidence grows of civilian killings in Bucha

Journalists entering a Ukrainian town which saw fierce fighting with Russian forces have found dead bodies of men in civilian clothes strewn on a street.

An AFP news agency reporter in Bucha, near Kyiv, counted at least 20 bodies. At least one man had his hands tied.

Ukrainian forces regained control of the town this week and photos show widespread devastation.

BBC journalists in another part of Ukraine found the bodies of two civilians killed by Russian forces.

Warning: Some readers may find content in this story distressing including a photo lower down.

Earlier this week the BBC's Jeremy Bowen and his team counted a total of 13 bodies, some of whom may have been Ukrainian soldiers, along a stretch of road between the villages of Mria and Myla.

Ukraine says Russian forces have made a "rapid retreat" from around Kyiv, with one official saying the whole region around the capital has been retaken since the invasion began on 24 February.

The invasion has seen thousands killed in ferocious fighting and has made refugees of at least four million Ukrainians. Western states have responded with tough sanctions against Russia and military supplies for Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to justify his attack by arguing that Ukraine, a former Soviet state with Nato and EU ambitions, was a constant threat and Russia could not feel "safe, develop and exist".

In Bucha, where a photographer for Reuters news agency also recorded dead bodies, holes gaped from apartment blocks hit by shelling and crushed cars littered the streets.

Sixteen of the 20 bodies seen by AFP lay either on the pavement or by the verge. Three were sprawled in the middle of the road, and another lay on his side in the courtyard of a destroyed house.

An open Ukrainian passport lay on the ground next to the person who had his hands tied behind his back with a piece of white cloth. Two other people had white cloth tied around their upper arms.

Warning: There is a photo below that some readers may find distressing

A Ukrainian official told AFP the dead men could have been killed in a bombardment or shot by Russian soldiers, and police would investigate.

But the town's mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, told AFP by phone that all of the 20 dead had been shot in the back of the head. He added that other bodies still lay inside the wrecks of cars destroyed by shelling.

The town, he said, had buried 280 people in mass graves as a result of the Russian invasion.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Journalists witnessed bodies lying on the street

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