Bodies discovered in the streets of Bucha after the withdrawal of Russian troops on April 2, 2022


  • Von der Leyen said the Bucha massacre was part of Russia's plan to eliminate Ukrainian national identity
  • Blinken said Russia should be held accountable for their war crimes in Bucha
  • Most of the Ukrainian civilians killed in Bucha had been tortured to death

Both Europe and the United States on Monday decried Russia's barbaric acts in the city of Bucha where Moscow's troops massacred hundreds of Ukrainian civilians in 2022 amid the war.

In a speech shared by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF), Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, also said the massacre in Bucha was part of Russia's "cruel, cynical, calculated" plan to eliminate Ukraine's national identity.

"When brave Ukrainians fiercely stopped the invader from advancing on Kyiv, they exposed a heinous truth. In Bucha, Russian soldiers had looted and burned homes, tortured, raped, and murdered innocent civilians ... The barbarity of the attacks was palpable. The sight of mass graves and body bags lined up on the ground is etched forever in my memory," von der Leyen said.

"What happened in Bucha, was not a random episode. Those executions in cold blood were part of a bigger plan. Cruel, cynical, calculated. The Kremlin wants to eliminate Ukraine. Its statehood, its independence and democracy."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also made a similar remark on Sunday. In his speech, Blinken accused the Russian army of killing "indiscriminately" and called the killings a "war crime" for which Moscow should be held accountable.

"One year ago today, when Ukrainian forces liberated Bucha, they discovered a massacre. Hundreds of men, women, and children killed indiscriminately by Russian forces. Russian forces and officials have committed – and continue to commit – war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. And those who have committed these atrocities must be held accountable," Blinken said.

"The United States supports Ukrainian and international efforts to document and investigate these atrocities."

Their speeches come after Ukrainians mark the anniversary of the liberation of Bucha on March 31, with calls to remember and give justice to the civilians killed by Russian soldiers during their brutal occupation of the city.

It is believed that Russia killed more than 1,400 Ukrainian civilians, including at least 37 children during their month-long occupation of Bucha. Most of the people killed had also been tortured to death, according to Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.

In addition to the massacre, Russian troops are also accused of raping women in Bucha. In one case, 25 Ukrainian girls aged 14 to 24 were "systematically raped" by Russian soldiers in the basement of one house in Bucha. At least nine of the women became pregnant as a result, per BBC.

The Ukrainian town of Bucha has become synonymous with war crimes