Live Updates | New Zealand PM calls killings ‘reprehensible’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday called reports of rape and other atrocities by Russian troops in Ukraine “reprehensible”.

Bodies with bound hands, point-blank gunshot wounds and signs of torture lay strewn across a town on the outskirts of kyiv after Russian troops withdrew from the area. Ukrainian authorities accused the departing forces on Sunday of committing war crimes and leaving behind a “scene from a horror movie”.

“Reports of Ukrainian civilians being killed, raped and seriously injured by Russian troops are beyond reprehensible,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital.

“Russia must answer to the world for what it has done,” she said.

She said her cabinet on Monday considered other steps New Zealand could take to support Ukraine and send a strong message to Russia. Further details would be presented this week.

“Certainly what we see as an international community is evidence of war crimes at the hands of Russia,” Ardern said.

“Ultimately it’s up to the International Criminal Court to make that decision, but the evidence is there and New Zealand is helping prosecutors gather that evidence and hold Russia to account,” he said. she added.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre, city strewn with corpses

— “Fill the silence with your music,” Zelenskyy tells the Grammys

— War in Russia could further drive up auto prices and shortages

— Drug shortages persist in Russia after start of war in Ukraine

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Monday that he strongly condemns reported attacks on civilians in Ukrainian towns outside Kyiv “as a violation of international law.”

European leaders have already condemned the reported attacks, responding to images of bodies on the streets, some with their hands tied behind their backs.

Kishida said “Japan will firmly do what it has to do” while cooperating with the international society for possible new sanctions against Russia.

“We must strongly condemn human rights issues and actions that violate international law,” Kishida added.

Japan has imposed a series of sanctions against Russia, in line with the United States and other Western countries.

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LAS VEGAS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video at the Grammy Awards asking for help in telling the story of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

During the pre-recorded message aired on the show on Sunday evening, he spoke in English, likening the attack to a deadly silence threatening to extinguish the dreams and lives of the Ukrainian people, including children.

In his words: “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing for the wounded in the hospitals, even for those who cannot hear them. But the music will break through anyway.

Ahead of the ceremony, The Recording Academy, along with its partner Global Citizen, promoted a social media campaign called “Stand Up For Ukraine” to raise funds and humanitarian support.

Zelenskyy told the audience, “Fill the silence with your music. Fill it out today to tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV, support us in any way possible, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities.

Following Zelenskyy’s message, John Legend performed his song “Free” with Ukrainian musicians Siuzanna Iglidan and Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk as images of the war played on screens behind them.

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KYIV, Ukraine – The Ukrainian military says its forces have recaptured some towns in the Chernihiv region and humanitarian aid is on the way.

The RBK Ukraina news agency said the road between Chernihiv and the capital of kyiv was to reopen to traffic later on Monday.

Chernihiv is a town 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of kyiv and it has been cut off from shipments of food and other supplies for weeks. The mayor said on Sunday that relentless Russian shelling had destroyed 70% of the city.

Russian forces have also withdrawn from the Sumy region in northeastern Ukraine, local administrator Dmitry Zhivitsky said on Sunday in a video message broadcast by Ukrainian news agencies. Troops had occupied the area for almost a month.

In other areas recently recaptured from Russian troops, Ukrainian officials claim to have recovered hundreds of civilians killed in recent days. Ukraine’s prosecutor general said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in cities in the Kyiv region.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s prosecutor general said the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from towns in the Kyiv region that were recently recaptured from Russian troops.

Iryna Venediktova claims on Facebook that the bodies were found on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She says 140 of them have been examined by prosecutors and other specialists.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the mayor of the village of Motyzhyn in Kyiv region was assassinated while in Russian custody. Vereshchuk adds that there are 11 mayors and community leaders in Russian captivity across Ukraine.

In a video address on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced allegedly targeted killings of civilians in Russian-occupied cities, calling the killers “monsters who don’t know how else to do it.” He warns that more atrocities could come to light if Russian forces are forced out of other occupied areas.

International leaders have condemned reported attacks in cities across the Kyiv region after harrowing accounts of civilians and graphic images of bodies with their hands tied behind their backs.

The Russian Defense Ministry has dismissed allegations of atrocities against civilians in Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs.

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