Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has spoken about how he feels about Russian soldiers after witnessing the atrocities they committed in towns near Kyiv, calling them “craven barbarians.”
“I felt pain, I felt hatred, I felt the need for vengeance,” said Zelensky in an interview with Australian TV station Nine Network on May 1.
“This initial, angry reaction then shifted into incomprehension; how can you treat people like that, humanity in general?”
“Even if they think of us as enemies, what do the civilians have to do with it, if they think of our military as enemies?”
The president added that he doesn’t understand how could the Russians could justify abandoning their own brothers-in-arms on the battlefield.
“What about abandoning your own? Whoever you are, whoever you think is your enemy, how could you abandon your own (dead)?” said the president.
“They (Russians) weren’t burying their own (dead), they weren’t taking their wounded – they simply fled; it’s a mix of hatred, incomprehension, and realization that you’re dealing with plainly craven barbarians.”
“They were abandoning their people to make room for washing machines (stolen) from (Ukrainian) people’s homes, phones, clothes, and were leaving their wounded.”
Following the Russian retreat from northern Ukraine, evidence of horrific mass atrocities and war crimes against Ukrainian civilians started to emerge. In Kyiv’s suburbs of Bucha and Irpin, along the Zhytomyr motorway, hundreds of bodies of tortured civilians were discovered.
The Russian army looted Ukrainian homes, taking anything they found valuable – from washing machines and mobile phones, to underwear and vibrators.
On April 14, Ukraine’s parliament recognized Russian war crimes in Ukraine as genocide. Parliaments of other countries, such as Canada, did the same.
Western leaders have condemned Russian war crimes and called for a thorough investigation to bring those responsible to account.