Zelensky addresses Russians on war crimes: What kind of sons have you raised?

It’s a rhetorical question since everyone understands how the Russian military operates. Ask a Syrian, assuming any are left.

Still, the carnage in Bucha is a gut-check moment for the anti-anti-Russia crowd, an opportunity to separate the proverbial men from the boys. Who’s so far gone that that they’re willing to swallow the Kremlin line that the Ukrainians murdered their own people?

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Tulsi Gabbard isn’t:

Others are less squeamish:

I’m keen to see where Tucker comes down in tonight’s monologue. My money’s on a “Russians probably did it but why can’t we ask questions?” cop-out.

Zelensky visited the newly liberated town today to see firsthand what Russian occupation looks like:

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Times reporters are also there, interviewing witnesses who experienced the occupation. They happened to chat with the elderly woman featured in this clip that I posted yesterday and got the backstory on how that scene came to be. During the first days of the war, the woman’s daughter had seen tanks coming up the street and assumed they were Ukrainian; when she went out into her front yard to get a better look, she realized they were Russian. Too late — they shot her dead on the spot. Her mother, who’s 76, apparently couldn’t do more than simply cover the body with wood and plastic. It’s been lying there ever since.

A local coroner is back inside the town too and collecting the remains. There were too many to store in the morgue so they’ve dug a mass grave and are burying the bodies as quickly as possible:

Mr. Kaplishny said that before he left Bucha — as back-and-forth battles raged and then the Russian Army established control — he had buried 57 bodies in a cemetery. Fifteen of those people had died of natural causes, the rest from gunshot wounds, including point-blank shots, or from shrapnel. Three of the bodies were those of Ukrainian soldiers, he said.

Before leaving town in March, he said, he had arranged for a local backhoe operator to dig a mass grave in the yard of an Orthodox church. Without electricity for refrigeration, the morgue had become intolerable, and another solution was needed. “It was a horror,” he said…

By the end of the day, back in town, he said that he had picked up about 30 more bodies in a white van. Thirteen of them were men whose hands had been tied and who had been shot at close range in the head. He said he did not know the circumstances of their deaths but believed, based on their apparently recent deaths, that they were prisoners killed before the Russian Army withdrew…

Svitlana Munich, a former classmate of the dead woman, stood nearby in tears. “They shot everyone they saw,” she said of the Russians. “They shot the gas pipe, too, and her mother was in the house.”

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Here’s the scene from space:

At what point does a series of war crimes become something more?

Ed wrote earlier about the manifesto published in Russian state media today calling for the “purification” of Ukraine and “re-education” of any survivors. That logic is built on the lie at the heart of all Russian propaganda about the country, that Zelensky’s government has created a Nazi state. The moral urgency to smash a Nazi state is such that anything can be forgiven in the name of victory, at least in Russia’s view. Which means their approach to the conflict is trending towards genocide:

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Question: If the Russian army can’t defeat a “Nazi army” on the battlefield, can Putin logically refrain from using nuclear weapons to finish the Ukrainians? Russia can’t be expected to tolerate a “Nazi regime” right on its border whom it can’t dominate militarily, right?

Here’s Zelensky’s new video from last night. There’ll be many more illustrations of what kind of sons Russian mothers have raised before this is over.

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David Strom 12:40 PM | July 23, 2024
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