Videos from Bucha, Ukraine, appeared to show a group of Ukrainian captives being led at gunpoint by Russian troops moments before they were executed.
The videos, obtained and verified by The New York Times, were taken on March 4th by a security camera and a civilian who witnessed the ordeal.
The security camera footage showed a group of nine Ukrainians hunched over and holding the pants of the person in front of them while some had their hands placed over their heads. They were crossing a street in single file. Two Russian soldiers with guns can be seen at the front and back of the group, directing the line.
Ukrainian captives did not reappear
Eight witnesses told The Times the captives were then taken behind an office building, gunshots were heard, and the group did not reappear.
Additional drone footage obtained by The Times confirmed the witness accounts, showing the groups’ bodies beside an office building as Russian soldiers stood over them.
The group of apparently executed men from the videos were also seen in a photo taken on April 3rd. The Times said its investigation, published Thursday, uncovered the “clearest evidence yet” that Russian forces intentionally executed the group, “directly implicating these forces in a likely war crime.”
Execution of captives in Ukraine possibly Russian war crime
Reports of atrocities and executions poured out of Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, after Russian forces began retreating in late March. Stories and images from Bucha fueled international calls for a war crimes trial against Russia.
Joe Biden called for Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes in April following the killings of civilians in Bucha.
Biden said images coming from Bucha warranted calling Putin a “war criminal,” adding, “but we have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight and we have to get all the details so this can be an actual…war-crime trial.”
“This guy [Putin] is brutal and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it,” Biden said.
Images released in early March show civilian bodies—many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds, and signs of torture—strewn across a street following the withdrawal of Russian forces, and reporters observed a mass grave in the town with residents saying they believed at least 150 people were buried there.
Russian officials have repeatedly dismissed reports of atrocities committed in Bucha, calling them “fake.”