Wednesday April 6, 2022
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday April 6, 2022
In Bucha, death, devastation and a graveyard of mines
The Russian forces had not been in town for long before they came to the home of Volodymyr Avramov, a resident of Vokzal’na Street in the quiet Ukrainian suburb of Bucha.
Three Russians kicked in the doors and threw in a grenade, the 72-year-old Avramov said. Inside were Avramov, his daughter, and his son-in-law, Oleh.
They dragged Oleh outside and made him kneel – then shot him in the head as Avramov and his daughter watched, he said. The two then had to shelter in a basement for weeks as the fighting continued.
“Oleh was laying on the street for a month. I could not come close or bury him, nothing,” he said.
Images of dead civilians lining the streets of Bucha have shocked the world in recent days and heightened concerns that Russian soldiers are committing war crimes in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called it genocide.
“There were piles of dead corpses lying here, without arms, without legs, without skulls,” Avramov said. “You wouldn’t see it in a nightmare. It’s horror.”
Stories resembling the one told by Avramov have been documented by Human Rights Watch, which found evidence of execution-style killings of civilian men in multiple Ukrainian cities, including Bucha.
Now Ukraine has intensified its calls for the West to provide more military aid and take greater action against Russia, in hopes of tipping the scale as the fight shifts from Kyiv to eastern Ukraine.
“If we had already got what we needed – all these planes, tanks, artillery, anti-missile and anti-ship weapons – we could have saved thousands of people. I do not blame you — I blame only the Russian military. But you could have helped,” Zelenskyy said in a speech Monday.
As part of the effort, Ukrainian authorities have organized tours for foreign journalists to see the extent of Russia’s devastation of Bucha: Destroyed homes, blackened buildings, blown out windows, and the apocalyptic Vokzal’na Street – a half-mile-long graveyard of burned out tanks and cars.
Amid the ruins, members of a demining crew showed journalists some of the explosives that have been recovered from homes in the city. About 4,000 were found on Monday alone, officials said, a mix of mines, ammunition and unexploded missiles.
The bodies of some 200 civilians have been recovered so far in the Bucha area, officials say, and more are uncovered each day as crews work to remove mines and clear rubble. (NPR)