Accusations of Russian war crimes perpetrated during their invasion of Ukraine have persisted since the earliest days of the conflict, typically in the form of bombing civilian centers. But as RedState initially reported on Saturday evening, the world is seeing the first major evidence of mass-scale, face-to-face atrocities after Ukrainian forces liberated the city of Bucha, which was held by Russian forces for several weeks.
More videos and pictures of people with their hands tied behind their back and bullet holes in their heads are beginning to spread online, and the scenes are shocking.
(WARNING: Graphic content)
New Srebrenica. The Ukrainian city of Bucha was in the hands of 🇷🇺 animals for several weeks. *Local civillians were being executed arbitrarily*, some with hands tied behind their backs, their bodies scattered in the streets of the city.#RussianWarCrimes pic.twitter.com/outzejdidO
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 2, 2022
This is the Ukrainian city — Bucha, after being deoccupied. Dead bodies of civilians with hands tied and bullet holes in their heads from behind. This is 2022. Is it fascism or genocide? What's this? Europe, USA, how did we let this happen? pic.twitter.com/6PQRjslANZ
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) April 3, 2022
In no way do I want to downplay the deaths of civilians from aerial bombings and artillery barrages that have been happening over the course of the Russian invasion. People dying at the hands of such actions are just as dead as those in the visual mediums above. Yet, there is something different in regards to escalation when it comes to tying someone’s hands behind their back and blowing their brains out. Whatever happened in Bucha was obviously horrific, and it is something new compared to what we’ve seen before, at least on this scale.
With Russian forces retreating (though, the Biden administration is warning it’s just a repositioning), it leaves the question of response very much up in the air. Obviously, the ceasing of hostilities is the priority for all involved, and not every bit of vengeance can be extracted while attaining that. Yet, it’s hard to imagine something of this scale and with such vivid evidence being brushed under the rug. The West, including the White House, will have to respond in some way.
That will most likely manifest in further isolation of Russia, though I’m not sure there’s much meat left on the bone in regards to sanctions. The only big move left to make would be for Europe to fully cut itself off from Russian energy imports, something that could send the continent into turmoil. Of course, that’s always been the danger of rapid globalization with no care for national security. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost for a lot of elites who insisted for decades that Western nations tying themselves to Russia and China would only be a benefit
Regardless, it’s hard to imagine Vladimir Putin ever being re-welcomed into the family of nations once he calls it quits on his war of expansion. Unfortunately, I don’t think he cares. Tyrants understand one thing, and that’s force. Putin seems content to rule his empire, including proxies like Belarus, within a bubble of his own making. In that sense, it truly does feel like a return to the Cold War.
The stakes have been raised, and the short-term and long-term repercussions are very much up in the air. Joe Biden is currently on another four-day weekend at his Delaware vacation home, so don’t expect a response from him until late Monday, and that’s assuming he speaks to reporters at all. Still, this feels like the kind of thing that the White House will have to directly address. Something has to give going forward, and the world could look very different over the next several years because of how Putin has decided to propagate this war.