Ukrainian officials say 67 buried in mass grave in Bucha as evidence of atrocities mount

Plastic bags with corpses exhumed from a mass grave are lined up in Bucha. Credit: AP

An estimated 67 bodies have been found buried in a mass grave near a church in the northern Kyiv suburb of Bucha, the Ukrainian prosecutor general's office has said.

On Friday, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said 18 bodies had been located so far, 16 with bullet wounds and two with bullet and shrapnel wounds. “This means that they killed civilians, shot them,” said Ms Venediktova, who was speaking as workers pulled corpses out in the rain.

Soldiers stand guard as Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, visits a mass grave in Bucha. Credit: AP

During a visit to Bucha on Friday, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the civilian deaths underscored the barbarity of Russian attacks, adding they showed the "cruel face" of Putin's army.

The prosecutor general’s office is investigating the deaths, and other mass casualties involving civilians, as possible war crimes.

Ms Venediktova said the European Union is involved in the investigation and “we are coordinating our actions”.

The Kremlin has insisted that claims that Russian troops had executed civilians in Bucha were a "monstrous forgery".

Despite ongoing assaults on civilians and some pockets of the country still under enemy occupation, some analysts believe that the war is starting to take a significant turn in Ukraine's favour.

ITV News understands from Western intelligence sources that a total victory - which would see Russian forces pushed completely out of the country - is possible for Ukraine.

But this is predicated on the ramping up of military support from the international community.

Since Russian soldiers pulled back from Bucha last week, Ukrainian officials say that hundreds of civilians have been found dead, with photographic evidence of bodies emerging from the recaptured territory.

Bucha's deputy mayor, Taras Shapravskyi, said on Friday that over 360 civilians were killed, and between 260 and 280 were buried by other locals in a mass grave.

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers, who was in Bucha earlier this week, heard accounts of rape and mass executions, and was shown mass graves in the city after the Russians withdrew.

A woman hugs a Ukrainian serviceman after a convoy of military and aid vehicles arrived in the formerly Russian-occupied Bucha. Credit: AP

Some of the dead were buried by friends near their homes in marked graves, but many more were hastily interned in mass graves, with no headstones or even identification. One grave he was shown held around 280 bodies in two rows - one side for dead Russians and the other for Ukrainians.

Bucha was far from the only site where Russian atrocities were carried out.

On Friday, at least 50 people were killed and 300 more wounded in a rocket strike on a train station in the city of Kramatorsk, in the eastern region of Donetsk, which was being used to evacuate civilians.

Last month, hundreds were feared dead after Russian forces bombed a theatre where civilians in the southern port of Mariupol were sheltering.

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