Ukraine's top prosecutor said 410 bodies were found in towns recaptured from retreating Russian forces near Kyiv as part of an investigation into possible war crimes, according to reporting by Reuters. Some alleged witnesses, however, are so traumatized by their ordeal that they cannot yet speak, said Iryna Venedyktova, Ukraine's prosecutor general.
The mayor in Bucha, a town 23 miles northwest of Kyiv that has been liberated by Ukrainian forces, told Reuters that 300 residents had been killed while fighters from Chechnya controlled the area.
Russia has denied allegations its troops killed civilians in Bucha. Ukrainian prosecutors were only able to enter the towns of Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel for the first time on Sunday and they need more time to work out the extent of the crimes, said Venedyktova.
"We need to work with witnesses," she said, according to Reuters. "People today are so stressed that they are physically unable to speak."
For his part, Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy reportedly has said it is clear hundreds of civilians had been killed but that he did not want to specify exactly how many there were.
Earlier, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of genocide against Ukrainian people, saying in an interview that: "We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of those nationalities."
Zelenskyy made those comments after warning that forces want to seize the east and south of the country. He also said Ukrainian forces had regained control over communities in Kyiv and Chernihiv.
Zelenskyy has also called for a ceasefire before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelenskyy gives a video address at the Grammys
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a video address at the Grammy Awards ceremony during which he contrasted the "silence of ruined cities and killed people" in Ukraine with the music and freedom at the Grammys.
"Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded. In hospitals. Even to those who can't hear them. But the music will break through anyway," he said in the video message.
"Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today. To tell our story," he added.
He asked viewers to tell "the truth about the war" and support Ukraine.
— Abigail Ng
Fighting rages around Mariupol as Russia shifts its focus to southeastern Ukraine
Intense fighting continues to flare around Mariupol in Ukraine's south as Russian troops try to capture the devastated port city.
"The city continues to be subject to intense, indiscriminate strikes but Ukrainian [forces] maintain a staunch resistance, retaining control of central areas," the U.K. Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update Sunday night.
Mariupol is one of the cities most devastated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It lies on the Sea of Azov, with the Russian border lying to the east and Ukraine territory already seized by Moscow's forces to the west.
"Mariupol is almost certainly a key objective of the Russian invasion as it will secure a land corridor from Russia to the occupied territory of Crimea," the British ministry said.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned over the weekend that Moscow is trying to seize territory in the eastern Donbas region and in the south where Mariupol is located.
The worst fighting in Ukraine appears to be shifting to the south and east, as Ukrainian forces have repelled Russian troops in northern areas, especially around Kyiv.
Ukrainian forces retaking ground around the capital say they have discovered hundreds of dead civilians, some apparently shot with their hands tied behind their backs.
Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said in a video on Sunday that he expects to uncover further atrocities in Mariupol.
Kuleba is "trying to prepare myself for images and videos which will come from Mariupol when we liberate it," he said.
"Probably they will be even more devastating," Kuleba said.
— Ted Kemp
Satellite imagery shows a 45-foot-long trench where a mass grave has been discovered in Bucha
Satellite imagery of Bucha, Ukraine, from March 31 shows a 45-foot-long trench in an area where a mass grave has been identified, according to space company Maxar Technologies.
View from the ground:
— Maxar Technologies; Reuters; Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images
Newly re-elected Pro-Putin leader Viktor Orban of Hungary calls Ukraine's Zelenskyy an 'opponent'
As Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban looked set to win today's election, voters shrugged off concerns over Budapest's embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin while Orban called out Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as an "opponent."
"We will remember this victory until the end of our lives because we had to fight against a huge amount of opponents," Orban said in a speech, naming his perceived opponents as the Hungarian left, bureaucrats in Brussels, global media, George Soros, "and the Ukrainian president too — we never had so many opponents at the same time."
Orban is known for his hard-right anti-immigration policies and has opposed imposing tough energy sanctions against Moscow.
— Terri Cullen
Ukrainians lining up at U.S. embassies in Warsaw, other European capitals for visas: NBC News
Following the Biden administration's announcement that the U.S. would take in up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their homeland, refugees are lining up by the hundreds at American embassies in neighboring countries for visas and other travel documents, according to NBC News.
They're likely be in line for a while, with wait times for visitor visas ranging from 125 days in Poland to 301 days in Moldova, NBC News' Josh Lederman reports. Approval is not guaranteed. Ukrainians with Americans relatives stand a relatively good chance of getting an immigrant visa, but others applying to arrive in the U.S. as visitors may be rejected if they can't prove they plan to eventually return to Ukraine.
U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski told NBC News that officials are working to speed up the visa application process. Watch the video of Josh Lederman's report from Warsaw, Poland, here.
Photos show inside Mariupol theater after Russian bombing
Photos show the interior of the Donetsk Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, which bombed by Russia on March 16, 2022, while hundreds of civilians were sheltering inside. Local officials, citing witness accounts, estimate that 300 people were killed in the attack.
Russia is using 'a lot of manipulation' to prop up the value of its currency, Blinken says
The dramatic recovery in the value of the Russian ruble is due, in large part, to "a lot of manipulation" from the government in Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken claimed in an interview Sunday.
The ruble traded at 84.62 per dollar, as of Friday, which is back near levels seen before the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine prompted historic economic sanctions against Russia. The ruble's value initially plummeted, trading as low as 151.5 per dollar on March 7, according to FactSet data.
"When it comes to the ruble, it's more than a little manipulation, it's a lot of manipulation. People are being prevented from unloading rubles," Blinken said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," referring to capital controls implemented by Russia's central bank.
"That's artificially propping up the value. That's not sustainable, so I think you're going to see that change," Blinken said, suggesting that the strict sanctions combined with Western businesses leaving Russia will, over the long term, weigh on the currency and economy writ large.
"The export controls that we've imposed on Russia, denying it the technology it needs to modernize industry after industry, that's going to have an increasing bite," he said.
— Kevin Stankiewicz
Wreckage of the Antonov An-225, once world's biggest aircraft, seen in Hostomel, Ukraine
A view of the wreckage of the Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo plane at an airshed in Hostomel, Ukraine, on April 3, 2022. The Mriya was once the world's biggest aircraft but it was destroyed on or about Feb. 27, 2022, by Russian shelling as Russia's attack on Ukraine continued.
— Anadolu Agency
Russia denies killing civilians in Bucha, calls photos, film of alleged war crimes 'staged'
EDITOR'S NOTE: Image in this post contains graphic content
Russia denied widely reported allegations it had killed civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, describing footage and photographs of dead bodies as a "provocation" and a "staged performance" by Kyiv.
Ukraine has accused the Russian military of massacring residents in the town, located northwest of the capital, an area Ukrainian troops said they recaptured on Saturday.
"All the photos and videos published by the Kyiv regime, allegedly testifying to the 'crimes' of Russian servicemen in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region, are another provocation," Russia's defense ministry said, in a statement.
"During the time that Russian armed forces were in control of this settlement, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions," it said.
Moscow has previously denied allegations that it has targeted civilians, and has rejected accusations of war crimes.
Polish PM calls for EU meeting to impose harsh sanctions
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called for a meeting with European heads of state "as soon as possible" to impose hard-hitting sanctions on Russia following reports that the nation's forces executed scores of Ukrainian civilians.
"The massacre in Bucha is more than an alarm bell for Europe and the world. It is a terrible cry for justice, freedom and the right to life; for basic and universal values," Morawiecki said in a Facebook post. He added that Russian troops committed "acts of genocide."
"The EU must confiscate all Russian assets in its western banks as well as those of Russian oligarchs. It must sever all trade relations with Russia without delay. European money must stop flowing to the Kremlin. Putin's criminal and increasingly totalitarian regime needs to have one thing imposed on it: SANCTIONS WHICH ACTUALLY WORK," he said.
— Jessica Bursztynsky
Ukraine foreign minister: Russia's war crimes make it 'worse than ISIS'
Ukraine minister of foreign affairs Dmytro Kuleba said in a video on Sunday that "Russia is worse than ISIS," referring to the Islamic extremist group.
"In its atrocities, in its crimes — both the scale of these crimes and the ruthlessness of the behavior of the Russian army in Ukraine," Kuleba said in a video on Twitter.
"I don't know where these soldiers were educated — what kind of values they have, if any," Kuleba added. "It's unspeakable.
"Rapes, tortures, murders — of civilians."
He noted that Ukraine has begun work to prosecute "everyone involved in these crimes."
Kuleba also said that he is "trying to prepare myself for images and videos which will come from Mariupol when we liberate it."
"Probably they will be even more devastating," Kuleba said.
— Michael Sheetz
Scholz says West to agree more sanctions on Russia in coming days
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday Western allies would agree further sanctions on Russia in the coming days over its invasion of Ukraine and the "atrocities" committed by Russian troops in a town near Kyiv.
Russian President Vladimir "Putin and his supporters will feel the consequences" of their actions, he said, in a statement to reporters in the chancellery. "And we will continue to make weapons available to Ukraine so the country can defend itself against the Russian invasion."
Civilians take shelter from Russian artillery in Kharkiv
Civilians are seen taking shelter from Russian artillery in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine.