Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion. Day 40: Russia justifies extermination of Ukrainians, calls for “de-Ukrainization”; Zelenskyi’s remarks in Bucha

Tragedy of Bucha. On April 4, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi visited Bucha. He spoke to local residents and reporters. 

The number of people killed by the Russian troops in Bucha, a town near Kyiv is higher than the death toll in the Vukovar massacre in Croatia in 1991. In Bucha, the municipal funeral service recovered 340 bodies of civilians, victims of Russia’s war crimes. That is not the final toll.  

The West jointly condemned Russia’s atrocities in Bucha. U.S. President Biden Biden called for a war crimes tribunal against Vladimir Putin.

Zelenskyi talks to reporters in Bucha. Highlights

Russian forces persecute local authorities, civilians. “Civilians and authorities are treated equally. In many cities, representatives of local authorities were abducted and killed. Local authorities are now here, they have been fighting against the Russian Federation,” the Ukrainian President said.

What characterizes Ukrainians and Russians. “Talk to our people to understand who they are. As people received humanitarian aid today, they asked if we could also help to get the food for stray animals. That’s what you need to know about our people who treat animals as God’s creatures, as humans.”

“What you see around you, the damage that was inflicted on this modern town characterizes the Russian troops that treat people worse than animals. These are war crimes and they will be recognized by the world as genocide.”

True genocide. “As you are here today, you can see what happened. We know of thousands of people killed and tortured with severed limbs, raped women, murdered children. That is what genocide is.”

Stalled talks. “Our delegations met in Turkey. Before the meeting between the delegations, the foreign ministers met. Their meeting did not go ahead for understandable reasons.”

“As Russia protracts the talks, it turns against them, their overall positions and [chances to win] the war fade. Every day the Ukrainian troops retake and de-occupy some areas.” 

“It is very difficult to talk. It is very difficult to negotiate when you see what they did here. Every day dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured.”

“They need to think quicker, if they are able to at all.”

Russia openly justifies extermination of Ukrainians 

On April 3, the state-owned Russian news agency RIA News published an article, which calls for the genocide of Ukrainians. Timofey Sergeytsev, the author of the article “What should Russia do with Ukraine”, justifies the need for mass repressions against Ukrainians in order to force them to abandon their own nationality, culture, and language. He uses the Russian propaganda term “Ukrainism” to describe “an artificial anti-Russian construction that does not have its own civilizational content, a subordinate element of an alien and alien civilization.” The main thesis of the article is the extermination of Ukrainians as an ethnical group not only through the “denazification” and “debanderization”, but moreover through so-called “de-Ukrainization” – “a rejection of the large-scale artificial inflation of the ethnic component of self-identification of the population of the territories of historical Little Russia (Malorossiya) and New Russia (Novorossiya), begun by the Soviet authorities.” The author adds that “denazification of Ukraine is also its inevitable de-Europeanization.” Here’s the full text translated into English.

Explaining Ukraine:  Episode no.88: Bucha Massacre

The whole world is looking at atrocities of Russian army in Kyiv suburbs: Bucha, Irpin’, Hostomel, villages on the Zhytomyr route and others. We try to explain why these atrocities could have happened and how this genocide has been made possible. — We continue our “Explaining Ukraine” podcast. Hosts: Volodymyr Yermolenko, Ukrainian philosopher and journalist, analytics director at Internews Ukraine, and Tetyana Ogarkova, Ukrainian scholar and journalist who is in charge of international outreach at the Ukraine Crisis Media Centre. Listen to the podcast here.

Ukraine in Flames #23. Deportations, torture and terror in occupied territories

Ukraine In Flames #24: The growing Russian atrocity urges a more decisive response from NATO

Ukraine in Flames #25. It is impossible to negotiate with Russia