SHARE
COPY LINK

UKRAINE

Germany’s Scholz vows new sanctions over Russia ‘war crimes’

Germany will draw up new sanctions with allies against Russia over the "war crimes" committed by Russian troops in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday.

Women cry outside their houses in Bucha near Kyiv
Women cry outside their houses in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, on April 2, 2022, where town's mayor said 280 people had been buried in a mass grave and that the town is littered with corpses. - Ukraine has regained control of "the whole Kyiv region" after invading Russian forces retreated from some key towns near the Ukrainian capital, deputy defence minister said today. (Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP)

“The murder of civilians is a war crime, and we must relentlessly investigate these crimes committed by the Russian armed forces,” he said.

“In the coming days, we will decide with our circle of allies on further measures. (Russian) President (Vladimmir) Putin and his supporters will feel the consequences.”

In a statement, Scholz said that light must be shed on “crimes committed by the Russian army” in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where mass graves have been discovered.

The perpetrators must be held accountable and international organisations granted access to the region to “document these atrocities”, he added.

A local official in Bucha said Sunday that 57 bodies had been found in one grave, showing the site to AFP. Ukrainian officials said Saturday that the bodies of nearly 300 civilians had been found in mass graves after Russian
troops withdrew and Ukraine declared the Kyiv region liberated from Russian military.

The German leader condemned the “terrible and horrible images” in Bucha. “Streets strewn with bodies. Bodies buried summarily. We’re talking about women, children and elderly among the victims,” he added.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also called the images “unbearable” and wrote on Twitter that Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s frantic violence is wiping out innocent families and knows no bounds”.

“We will strengthen the sanctions against Russia and further support the defence of Ukraine,” the minister said.

“This terrible war crime cannot go unanswered,” Robert Habeck, vice chancellor and economy minister, told German newspaper Bild.

“I think that a strengthening of sanctions is called for. That’s what we are preparing with our EU partners,” Habeck added.

French President Emmanuel Macron also denounced Russia’s actions in the town outside Kyiv, writing on Twitter “On the streets, hundreds of civilians cowardly murdered”.

Germany and France’s statements came after Poland’s deputy prime minister criticised Germany and France for being too close to Russia.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Bucha a “deliberate massacre” and urged G7 countries to impose “devastating” sanctions immediately.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

SHOW COMMENTS