Ukraine’s Zelensky says Bucha must become ‘symbol of justice’

Moldova's President Maia Sandu and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attend a joint press conference with the leaders of Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia, after the Bucha Summit conference in Kyiv. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky took part in a commemoration ceremony for Bucha with the leaders of Croatia, Moldova, Slovakia and Slovenia. PHOTO: AFP
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky (far left) visited Bucha with the leaders of Croatia, Moldova, Slovakia and Slovenia for a commemoration ceremony. PHOTO: REUTERS
People attend a vigil marking the first anniversary of the liberation of the town of Bucha, in Ukraine, from Russian occupation. PHOTO: REUTERS

KYIV - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday called for Bucha to become a “symbol of justice” on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s withdrawal from the town now synonymous with war crimes allegations.

“We must do everything to make Bucha a symbol of justice... We want every Russian murderer, executioner, terrorist to be held responsible for every crime,” Mr Zelensky said, at a Kyiv summit on the Bucha crimes.

Earlier, the Ukrainian president visited Bucha with the leaders of Croatia, Moldova, Slovakia and Slovenia for a commemoration ceremony.

“What happened in Bucha, the Russian army does it wherever it goes,” Mr Zelensky said, back in Kyiv.

He said the Bucha tragedy exemplified the “systemic genocidal violence, which is the essence of Russian actions in all Ukrainian occupied territories.”

Ukraine estimates that around 1,400 civilians died around Bucha, and 637 in the town itself.

Ukraine will use its national judicial system to hold accountable “the majority of Russian murderers and terrorists,” Mr Zelensky said.

It will also rely on the International Criminal Court “which is able to prosecute Russian war criminals of various levels within its jurisdiction.”

Kyiv is also working on the establishment of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression.

In a video message on Friday evening, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States “will continue pushing for accountability and for justice for as long as it takes.”

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday accused Moscow of having “allowed, even encouraged” war crimes in Ukraine.

“Russian aggression has led to systematic war crimes against Ukraine and its population,” he said, in a video message played at the Kyiv meeting.

“And far from sanctioning these crimes which go against all the laws of war, Russia’s leaders allowed them to happen, even encouraged them, in defiance of international law and with the clear objective of subjugating the Ukrainian nation through violence,” said Macron. AFP

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