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Satellite Images Disprove Russia’s Claims Civilian Killings Happened After They Left Bucha

Satellite Images Disprove Russia’s Claims Civilian Killings Happened After They Left Bucha

Russia's Ministry of Defence denied bodies of civilians appeared during Russia's occupation of Bucha

Warning: Graphic Content

Satellite images taken in Ukraine indicate civilian killings in Bucha took place before Russian soldiers left the town, contrary to what the invading forces previously claimed.

US president Joe Biden accused Vladimir Putin of being a war criminal after images emerged this weekend of scenes in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, showing bodies of dead civilians lying on the streets.

Victims had their hands tied behind their backs and appeared to have been shot at close range, though Russia's Ministry of Defence denied responsibility for the crimes, sharing a Telegram post which suggested the bodies had been placed on the streets after 'all Russian units withdrew completely from Bucha' around 30 March.

Following the denials, The New York Times shared reviews of video and satellite imagery which indicated many of the civilians in the town were killed more than three weeks ago, when Russia’s military was in control.

Multiple bodies could be seen scattered along Yablonska Street in a video filmed by a local council member on 2 April, but satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies prove at least 11 of the victims had been left on the street since 11 March, when Russian troops occupied the town.

Before-and-after analysis by The Times revealed dark objects of similar size to the human body appearing on Yablonska Street between 9 March and 11 March, with the objects seemingly lying in the same positions the bodies were found in when Ukrainians reclaimed Bucha and filmed the scene on 2 April.

A second video taken on the same street shows three bodies, one of which lay beside a bicycle and another near an abandoned car, a number of which are seen on the street. Satellite imagery shows the cars and the nearby body appeared between 20 March and 21 March.

Mass grave in Bucha. Alamy
Mass grave in Bucha. Alamy

The cause of deaths for those who lost their lives are unclear, with some located near what an apparent impact crater, others near other bicycles. The bodies covered more than half a mile of Yablonska Street.

Associated Press journalists saw 21 bodies in the town, with at least one group of nine victims all dressed in civilian clothes.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the town after his country regained control and described the situation as 'genocide'. He also assured a meeting of the United Nations Security Council would discuss potential war crimes by Russia today (5 April).

Bucha is home to around 36,000 people and is located roughly 16 miles northwest of Kyiv.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information

Featured Image Credit: Maxar Technologies/Alamy

Topics: Russia, Ukraine, World News, Politics, Volodymyr Zelensky