“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”.
Die Verantwortlichen für diese Kriegsverbrechen müssen zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden. Wir werden die Sanktionen gegen Russland verschärfen und
die #Ukraine noch stärker bei ihrer Verteidigung unterstützen. 2/2
— Außenministerin Annalena Baerbock (@ABaerbock) April 3, 2022
“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.