A year on from Bucha, Zelenskyy hails Ukraine resistance

Kiev: President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday praised Ukraine for fighting “the greatest force against humanity of our time”, a year after the first bodies were found in the streets butch,
Calm Kyiv suburb was captured by russian soldier for over a month last year and its name has become synonymous with the alleged war crimes carried out by Moscow during the invasion.
Russia Ukraine and its allies have been accused of atrocities.
The anniversary comes a day after Russia took over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council despite protests from Kiev and Western countries imposing sanctions on Moscow.
“People of Ukraine! You have stopped the greatest force against humanity of our time,” Zelensky said in a post on Telegram.
Zelensky said, “You have stopped a force that hates everything and wants to destroy everything that gives people meaning.”
“We will liberate all our lands,” he said.
Russia currently occupies about 18 percent of Ukraine’s territory.
Also on the occasion of the anniversary of the liberation of the Kiev region, Valery Zaluzny, chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, wrote: “We will continue to fight for the independence of our nation.”
On April 2, 2022, AFP journalists visited Bucha and saw the bodies of 20 people in civilian clothes, one with his hands tied behind his back, in a heavily destroyed town.
The scenes shocked the world, with Kiev and its Western allies condemning the executions of civilians.
Prosecutors in Kiev say Russian forces killed some 1,400 civilians around Bucha, including 637 in the city itself, and have identified dozens of Russian soldiers responsible.
When he visited Bucha shortly after the bodies were discovered, Zelensky was visibly moved and said that Russia had committed “war crimes” that “will be recognized by the world as genocide”.
Since then almost every foreign leader who has visited Ukraine has also traveled to Bucha to pay their respects.
On Friday – the first anniversary of Russia’s retreat from the Kiev region – Zelensky said he hoped Bucha would become a “symbol of justice”.
“We want every Russian murderer, executioner, terrorist to be held accountable for every crime,” he said.
After Russian troops retreated from the Kiev region, they also withdrew from parts of the country’s northeast and south.
But the front line has remained virtually static in recent months, with Russian troops claiming only minor gains – mainly around the battleground Bakhmut in the east.
With help from Western arms supplies, there have been heavy casualties and gains with the defense of Ukraine.
Russian forces backed by the Wagner paramilitary group are hard at work encircling Bakhmut – hoping to claim victory on the battlefield after a string of humiliating reverses.
On the ground, the intensity of fighting has decreased since the beginning of the year despite intense fighting around Bakhmut.
The head of Zelensky’s office, Andrey Ermak, said on Sunday that the Russian army carried out a “massive bombardment” on the village of Kostyantnivka near Bakhmut, killing six people and wounding eight.

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