Volodymyr Zelensky calls for Nuremberg-style trials over Russia’s ‘terrible war crimes’ in Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded Nuremberg-style trials over Russia’s “most terrible war crimes” in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s forces of creating “mass starvation” as well as shooting and raping civilians in a harrowing address to the United Nations Security Council.

It came as the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called for further sanctions on Russian shipping, banks and gold on a visit to Warsaw.

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During the UK-convened meeting of the UN’s most powerful body, whose membership includes Russia, Mr Zelensky warned there would be more scenes like those in Bucha.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the United Nations (UN) Security Council via video link

The area has seen a series of atrocities after Russian forces withdrew from the town near Kyiv.

He said: “Today, as a result of Russia’s actions in our country, in Ukraine, the most terrible war crimes we’ve seen since the end of World War Two are being committed.

“Russian troops are deliberately destroying Ukrainian cities to ashes with artillery and air strikes. They are deliberately blocking cities, creating mass starvation.

”They deliberately shoot columns of civilians on the road trying to escape from the hostilities.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of destroyed houses and vehicles in a street in Bucha

“They even deliberately blow up shelters where civilians hide from air strikes.

“The massacre in our city of Bucha is unfortunately only one of many examples of what the occupiers have been doing on our land for the past 41 days.”

Mr Zelensky told council members that civilians had been shot in the back of the head after being tortured, blown up with grenades in their apartments and crushed to death by tanks while in cars.

He said: “They cut off limbs, cut their throats. Women were raped and killed in front of their children. Their tongues were pulled out only because their aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them.

“Anyone who has given criminal orders and carried them out by killing our people will be brought before the tribunal which should be similar to the Nuremberg tribunals.”

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Mr Zelensky played allies a video appearing to show bound, killed and burned civilians and mass graves in images from across his nation that the UK’s ambassador to the UN Dame Barbara Woodward described as “harrowing”.

Ukrainian officials said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in towns around Kyiv that were recaptured from Russian forces and a “torture chamber” was discovered in Bucha.

Mr Zelensky told the Security Council there was “not a single crime” that Russian troops had not committed in Bucha.

He explained: “The Russian military searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country.

"They shot and killed women outside their houses when they just tried to call someone who is alive.

"They killed entire families, adults and children, and they tried to burn the bodies.”

The images, particularly from the town of Bucha, have stirred global revulsion and led to demands for tougher sanctions and war crime charges.

Making his first appearance before the UN’s highest body, Mr Zelensky said the Russian troops awee no different from other terrorists like the so-called Islamic State group.

The Kremlin has claimed the images from Bucha are fake and suggested the scenes were staged by the Ukrainians, but high-resolution satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies showed that many of the bodies had been lying in the open for weeks, during the time Russian forces were in the town.

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya also addressed the meeting, disputing the evidence of atrocities in Bucha, criticising Mr Zelensky and repeating baseless allegations of Nazism among Kyiv’s leadership.

As western leaders condemned the killings in Bucha, Italy, Spain and Denmark expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, following moves by Germany and France. Hundreds of Russian diplomats have been sent home since the start of the invasion, many accused of being spies.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the expulsions a “short-sighted” measure that would complicate communication and warned they would be met with “reciprocal steps”.

In another show of support, the European Union’s executive branch proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia, in what would be the first sanctions from the bloc targeting the country’s lucrative energy industry over the war.

It came as the Prime Minister recorded a video address to the Russian people about the atrocities unfolding in Ukraine.

Speaking in Russian and English, he said Russians “deserve the truth”, and that it was being hid from them by Putin.

He said: “The atrocities committed by Russian troops in Bucha, Irpin and elsewhere in Ukraine have horrified the world.

“The reports are so shocking, so sickening, it’s no wonder your government is seeking to hide them from you.

“Your president knows that if you could see what was happening, you would not support his war.

“He knows that these crimes betray the trust of every Russian mother who proudly waves goodbye to her son as he heads off to join the military.”

Mr Johnson ended by urging the Russian people to seek out factual reports and share them.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss said sanctions were having a “crippling impact” and “pushing the Russian economy back into the Soviet era”.

At a press conference in Warsaw she said: “We have frozen over 350 billion US dollars (£266 billion) of (Vladimir) Putin’s war chest, making over 60% of the regime’s 604 billion US dollars (£459 billion) foreign currency reserves unavailable.

“Our co-ordinated sanctions are pushing the Russian economy back to the Soviet era.”

Ms Truss will use a meeting of G7 allies on Thursday to push for further sanctions on Russia.

It came as the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat called for all weapons, not just so-called “defensive weapons”, should be made available to Ukraine.

Asked on Times Radio if all “reasonable battlefield weaponry” should be provided to Ukrainian forces, the Conservative MP said: “Yes. I mean, I don’t think there’s any really great doubt in this.”

He added: “Well, that’s a decision for various member states, right. And that’s a decision for countries like Poland or countries like the United States. I mean, you could retrain a Ukrainian pilot to fly various US-type aircraft in the weeks that have gone by so, you know, I mean there’s various options that we could have.”

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