The German government has indications that Russia was involved in the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha based on satellite imagery, a security source said Thursday.
German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that the intelligence agency intercepted radio messages from Russian military sources discussing the killing of civilians in Bucha.
“It is true that the federal government has indications of Russian perpetration in Bucha,” the source said. “However, these findings on Bucha refer to satellite images. The radio transmissions cannot be clearly attributed to Bucha.”
The source did not specify. He said there was no indication of an order from the Russian Armed Forces General Staff regarding Bucha.
Bucha, about 40 kilometers northwest of kyiv, was occupied by Russian troops for more than a month after their February 24 invasion of Ukraine. Local officials say more than 300 people were killed by Russian forces in Bucha alone, and around 50 of them were executed.
Associated Press reporters reported seeing dozens of bodies in Bucha, some burned, others apparently shot at close range or with their hands tied. In total, Ukrainian officials said hundreds of civilian bodies were found in towns around the capital.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned on Thursday that despite a recent Russian withdrawal, the invasion is not over, arguing for NATO “weapons, weapons and weapons” to deal with the upcoming offensive in the East. Western alliance nations have agreed to increase their arms supply, spurred by reports of atrocities committed by Russian forces in areas surrounding kyiv.
Western allies also stepped up financial sanctions targeting Moscow on Thursday, including a European Union ban on Russian coal imports.
Kuleba encouraged Western countries to continue to attack Russia, suggesting that any relaxation would ultimately lead to more suffering for Ukrainians.
“How many Buchas have to take place for you to impose sanctions? Kuleba asked reporters on Thursday. “How many children, how many women, how many men have to die – innocent lives have to be lost – for you to understand that you cannot allow punishment fatigue, like we cannot allow battle fatigue?”
Ukrainian leaders and several Western leaders have blamed the massacres on troops from Moscow. Russia falsely claimed that Bucha’s scenes were staged.
Spiegel said Germany’s intelligence office intercepted the radio messages and presented the findings to parliament on Wednesday, without giving a source of information.
Spiegel also said there were other sound recordings whose physical origin was harder to identify, which he said suggested that similar events had occurred in other Ukrainian cities.
Video of Ukrainian soldiers shooting captured Russian
Germany’s foreign intelligence office declined to comment on the case, and a German government spokesperson declined to comment on the Spiegel report.
Kuleba became emotional as he referred to the horrors of Bucha, telling reporters they couldn’t understand “what it’s like after seeing pictures of the town, talking to people who escaped”.
His comments came in response to a reporter’s question about a video that allegedly surfaced showing Ukrainian soldiers shooting a captured and wounded Russian soldier. Kuleba said he had not seen the video but it would be investigated and acknowledged there may be “isolated incidents” of violations.
The video has not been independently verified by The Associated Press.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of genocide and war crimes. The Kremlin said Tuesday that Western allegations that Russian forces executed civilians in Bucha are a “monstrous fake” intended to discredit the Russian military and justify further Western sanctions.
Russia presents evidence of civilian executions as a cynical ploy by Ukraine and its Western supporters, who Moscow says are plagued by discriminatory anti-Russian paranoia.