Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that the world "has yet to learn the full truth" of Russian atrocities in other Ukrainian cities beyond the alleged brutal executions, rapes and attacks on civilians uncovered in the last few days in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.
"Now the world can see what Russia did," Zelenskyy said in a video address as he appealed to the U.N. to "show the world how Russia will be punished."
Zelenskyy, sitting at a desk in a brown T-shirt alongside a blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag, said Russia's five-week-plus invasion and assault on his country "undermines the whole structure of global security."
"The Russian military must be brought to justice immediately," he said. He did not spell out exactly how he wanted the U.N. to act although he has appealed repeatedly for more Western military assistance and more lethal weaponry. Russia, with veto power over Security Council actions, would surely block any attempt for the United Nations to intervene directly in the war.
Mostly, Zelenskyy said, "Ukraine needs peace, Europe needs peace, the world needs peace." He appealed to the U.N. to act on the tenets of its post-World War II founding and act as a force for global stability.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as he left Washington for a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels for more discussions on the Ukraine conflict, told reporters the horrors uncovered in Bucha are "not the random act of a rogue unit. It's a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities. The reports are more than credible, the evidence is there for the world to see."
He said Russia's actions reinforce "our determination and the determination of countries around the world to make sure that one way or another, one day or another, there is accountability for those who committed these acts, for those who ordered them."
Blinken added, "There's also a strong determination to make sure that we're doing everything we can to continue to support Ukraine in its brave fight to push the Russian aggression out of Ukraine and, of course, to sustain and increase the pressure on Russia to stop this … aggression."
Zelenskyy's U.N. address came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should face a war crimes trial.
Moscow has denied accusations of killing civilians in Bucha, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov characterizing the scenes as a "stage-managed anti-Russian provocation." Russia's U.N. ambassador said he would provide "factual evidence" at Tuesday's Security Council meeting.
A satellite image shows dead bodies on Yablonska Street in Bucha, Ukraine, March 19, 2022. Satellite image 2022 Maxar Technologies.
A spokesman for satellite company Maxar Technologies said in a statement Monday that images collected over Bucha in mid-March verify and corroborate "recent social media videos and photos that reveal bodies lying in the streets and left out in the open for weeks."
Britain's defense ministry said Tuesday that Ukrainian forces have retaken areas in the northern part of the country after "forcing Russian forces to retreat from the areas around Chernihiv and north of Kyiv." The ministry added that those Russian forces "are likely to require significant re-equipping and refurbishment" before being available for fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has moved some of it forces toward eastern and southern Ukraine, away from the Kyiv region in north-central Ukraine.
Ukraine's General Staff said the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions are now a focus for Russia as it regroups with the goal of establishing "full control" of those areas.
The scenes of devastation left behind in Bucha and other suburbs have galvanized condemnation of Moscow.
Italy and Denmark announced Tuesday they are expelling Russian diplomats, following similar moves by Lithuania, France and Germany.
"You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal," Biden told reporters Monday. "Well, the truth of the matter, you saw what happened in Bucha. This warrants — he is a war criminal. But we have to gather the information."
"This guy is brutal and what's happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone's seen it," Biden said, referring to Putin. "Yes, I'm going to continue to add sanctions."
The U.S. State Department said that Washington, at the request of Ukraine, would support a multinational team of prosecutors who will collect evidence of alleged atrocities.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.