Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday reacted to disturbing new images coming out of a suburb of the capital Kyiv showing the bodies of executed civilians by calling Russia’s attacks “genocide.”
“Indeed, this is genocide,” Zelenskyy said during a “Face the Nation” interview on CBS. “The elimination of a whole nation, and the people — we are citizens of Ukraine.”
“We have more than a hundred nationalities. This is about destruction and extermination of all these nationalities,” Zelenskyy told host Margaret Brennan. “We are the citizens of Ukraine and we don’t want to be subdued to the policy of Russian Federation. This is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated. And this is happening in the Europe of the 21st century. So this is the torture of the whole nation.”
Brennan asked Zelenskyy whether he believed the world would “actually make good on this promise” to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for war crimes, prompting him to say that everything “has to be fair and according to justice, as the civilized world will decide.”
Zelenskyy went on to say that he doesn’t believe it is “fair” to only hold Putin accountable and punish him, adding, “I think all of the military commanders, everyone who gave instructions and orders should be punished adequately.” However, he said that the “adequate punishment” for these people is “difficult to be achieved.”
“It has to be done according to the law and what they have done,” Zelenskyy continued. “And I want to apologize to you and to those people who are watching us now, but for some things that they have done — when we find people with hands tied behind their back and decapitated, such things I don’t understand, I don’t comprehend.”
SEC. BLINKEN SAYS WE CANNOT BECOME ‘NUMB’ TO PUTIN’S WAR CRIMES, VOWS ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reacted Sunday to the photos out of Bucha, Ukraine, near Kyiv, showing civilian men who were reportedly executed and left on the streets, during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying the images were a “punch to the gut.”
“We’ve said before Russia’s aggression that we thought it was likely that they would commit atrocities. Since the aggression, we’ve come out and said that we believe that Russian forces have committed war crimes,” Blinken said.” And we’ve been working to document that to provide the information that we have to the relevant institutions and organizations that will put all this together and there needs to be accountability for it.”
“I think the most important thing is we can’t become numb to this. We can’t normalize this,” Blinken added.
CNN Host Dana Bash said that the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Sunday that “Russians aim to eliminate as many Ukrainians as they can.”
Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.