Forensic technicians collect the bodies of Ukrainian civilians killed and buried in a mass grave during the Russian occupation of Bucha, outside Kyiv, April 8, 2022
Thursday’s Coverage: Russia’s “Partial Success” in Bakhmut Assault
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1520 GMT:
The President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, and the Prime Ministers of Croatia, Slovakia, and Slovenia — Andrej Plenkovic, Eduard Heger, and Robert Golob — joined President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Bucha, near Kyiv, to mark the anniversary of its liberation after 33 days of occupation and mass killing by Russian forces.
Photo: Sergei Supinsky, AFP
UPDATE 1248 GMT:
US President Joe Biden has sent a message to the Kremlin about its detention of US citizen Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal correspondent.
Let him go.
Gershkovich was seized in Yekaterinburg by the Russian State security service FSB and formally arrested in a Moscow court on Thursday on espionage charges.
He is being held in pre-trial custody until May 29 and faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
Analysts note that Gershkovich may have been detained as a bargaining for Russia to get back its intelligence operatives who have been detained abroad.
UPDATE 0952 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has posted on Telegram….
When Bucha was de-occupied, we saw that the devil was not somewhere out there but on the ground. The heinous truth about what was happening in the temporarily occupied territories was revealed to the world….
Bucha. 33 days of occupation. More than 1,400 deaths, including 37 children. More than 175 people were found in mass graves and torture chambers. 9,000 Russian war crimes.
365 days since it became a free Ukrainian сity once again. A symbol of the atrocities of the occupying country’s army. We will never forgive. We will punish every perpetrator.
UPDATE 0943 GMT:
In its latest sanctions against Russia, Japan is banning exports of steel, aluminium, drones, and other aircraft to Moscow.
The Trade Ministry also announced the prohibition on Japanese entities from exporting industrial items such as construction machinery, ship engines, testing equipment, and optical devices.
The measures take effect on April 7.
UPDATE 0833 GMT:
Finland has taken another step towards NATO accession with the approval of the Turkish Parliament on Thursday.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had stood in the way of both Finnish and Swedish accession, seeking pressure on Kurdish activists in both countries. He relented in recent weeks over Oslo, but continues to hold out against Parliamentary approval of Stockholm’s candidacy.
Hungary is the only other NATO member which had not endorsed the two accessions, but its Parliament voted for Finland’s case last week.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said after the Turkish vote, “Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainians are marking the first anniversary of the liberation of Bucha, near Kyiv, and remembering the civilians who were killed there by occupying Russian forces.
After the Russians were defeated and withdrew from northern Ukraine last April, Bucha authorities recovered the bodies of 419 people, many of them in mass graves, killed by weapons. Witness statements of executions and other killings have been supported by geolocated satellite images, audio recordings of Russian forces, and documents.
International investigators are collecting and examining the evidence to assess if war crimes charges should be filed.
See also Identifying Russia’s Mass Killers In Bucha
Bucha is being rebuilt, and the town is filled with the sound and sights of day-to-day life. However, the signs of the destructive occupation remain: some high-rises are unrepaired; a scrapyard is filled with destroyed cars and military vehicles; and fences along a main streets, where dozens of residents were gunned down, are riddled with bullet holes.
Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said of the reconstruction, “It’s this kind of incredible desire for nothing to visually remind us of what the Russians did and left in their wake. It’s in the heart, soul and mind of every Bucha resident.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the nation that Bucha and other liberated towns near Kyiv stand as “a symbol…that Ukraine will be able to win this war”.
But Andriy Holovin, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest, explained, “We should understand that it’s easy to rebuild walls, but it’s much harder to rebuild a wounded soul.”