The liberation of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, was cause for celebration, but sickening pictures of what Russian troops left behind is shaking the world. After several weeks of Russian occupation, Ukrainian forces, reporters, and humanitarian groups arriving in the town found streets littered with civilian bodies, civilian mass graves, and evidence of mass civilian executions, of torture, and other war crimes. Some Russian vehicles destroyed as they tried to flee the region were loaded with looted civilian goods—a sign that even as Russia was readying for retreat, thievery remained at the top of individual unit agendas.
The evidence of Russian war crimes is significant, and the international community is seething with rage. Israel and Germany are among the nations condemning Russia, but whether those involved will pay any penalties for their crimes remains, for the moment, unknowable.
From Russia's gutless shelling of civilian centers—an act of orchestrated cowardice by Russian military leaders—to widespread looting to, now, evidence of large-scale war crimes, we are seeing now that Russia's military does not suffer solely from kleptocratic incompetence; it itself has become an extension of the murderous, mob-like criminal organizations that Putin uses to commit violence against opponents while thieving their way through the rest of the country. War crimes charges are not only necessary, but should reach the very top of Russian military command.
Images from liberated Bucha are extremely graphic and we will refrain from posting most of them directly. Such evidence can be found at The Guardian, via Human Rights Watch, in a thread from Rep. Andy Kim, and elsewhere.