Content warning: disturbing mentions of torture, rape, and murder.

As the Ukrainian military has been retaking territory, increasing evidence of further war crimes have been emerging. These discoveries have even led some to call the horrifying scenes as a genocide.

The recent retaking of Bucha, a small city in the Kyiv Oblast, has led to disturbing discoveries. Numerous civilians, including children, were found having been tortured and executed by the Russian military. Many were found with cuts and burn marks scarring their flesh. Countless reports of rapes were also reported.

These vile acts have led many to call for increased sanctions. Many EU politicians are reportedly calling for talks in regards to completely banning Russian gas in response to the atrocities. Many in the US and UK have likewise called for strengthened sanctions and the need to close loopholes through which Russian oligarchs avoid said sanctions.

The heart wrenching scenes have also been used by Ukrainian politicians to drive home the need for support of the world through the providing of military equipment to Ukraine in order to expel the Russian military.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called what Russia is doing a genocide. He stated to CBS news that:

“…this is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people. We are the citizens of Ukraine. We have more than 100 nationalities.”

“This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities.”

Russian officials have denied targeting civilians, however the photo and video evidence makes this incredibly difficult to believe. Even before the discovery of hundreds of murdered civilians in Bucha, there have been videos and pictures of numerous Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Not the least of which is the ongoing illegal invasion, but also include the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, indiscriminate shelling, and starvation of civilians.

It is clear that the Russian military, led by Putin’s orders, are blatantly committing war crimes in Ukraine. What is yet to be seen is whether the countries of the world that claim to care about the global order, value of life, and democracy have the fortitude to step up and take a stand for these principles. It may involve sacrifices, it will also reveal the true colors and intestinal fortitude of many governments and leaders around the world.