Russian troops ‘killed entire families,’ Zelenskyy says in plea to UN: Live Ukraine updates – USA TODAY

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressing the U.N. Security Council on  Tuesday, emphasized the apparent massacre of civilians by Russian forces in and around Kyiv and other major cities in pleading for war crime charges against Russian leaders.

Zelenskyy reaffirmed that Ukrainian forces that retook cities found mass graves, revelations of atrocities and infrastructure destroyed by Russian forces.

“They killed entire families, adults and children, and they tried to burn their bodies,” Zelenskyy said of the Russian invaders.

Zelenskyy urged the U.N. to provide security guarantees to Ukraine.

“What is the purpose of our organization? Its purpose is to maintain peace,” Zelenskyy said. “And now the U.N. Charter has been violated, starting with Article 1. What is the point of all the other articles?”

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► Zelenskyy said it was imperative that the U.N. Security Council take action against Russia to show other potential war criminals “how they will be punished if the biggest one is punished.”

► He also called for members of the Russian military who savagely attacked civilians – and those who issued the order – to face trial for war crimes.

► The Russian military killed “anyone who served our country,’ Zelenskyy said Tuesday. Women were shot outside their homes as they searched for friends and loves ones, he said. “They cut off limbs, slashed their throats, women raped and killed in front of their children,” he said.

Human Rights Watch: Russia using banned mines

Russian forces are using banned anti-personnel mines as they pull back from cities in Ukraine, a Human Rights Watch report says. The report was followed this week by the discovery of the bodies of more than 400 civilians in areas around Kyiv, some in mass graves. Russia is using a device known as the Pom-3 Medallion, a mine capable of killing people within a 50-foot radius, Human Rights Watch said.

The 1997 International Mine Ban Treaty prohibits the manufacture and use of antipersonnel mines. Ukraine is one of 164 nations that signed the treaty. The United States and Russia have not signed it.

“They are mining all this territory,” Zelenskyy said in a video address. “Mining houses, equipment, even the bodies of killed people. Too many tripwire mines, too many other dangers.” Read more here.

Janet Loehrke and George Petras

1.2 billion global citizens left vulnerable by war’s disruption

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also addressed the Security Council before Zelenskyy on Tuesday, saying that the world is “dealing with a full-fledged invasion” in violation of the United Nation Charter.

The result: More than 10 million have fled their homes and more than 4 million of them had fled the country.

The war’s victims, Guterres said, also include more than 1.2 billion citizens of developing nations struggling with rising prices and other economic issues aggravated by the war.

“It is more urgent by the day to silence the guns,” Guterres said.

EU considers ban on all coal imports from Russia

The European Union is considering a ban on all coal imports from Russia in what would be the first sanctions targeting Moscow’s lucrative energy income for its war in Ukraine.

“Today we are proposing a 5th package of sanctions. To take a clear stand is crucial for the whole world,” The E.U. Commission said in a Twitter post. “A clear stand against Putin’s war of choice. Against the massacre of civilians.”

Europe is determined to increase sanctions against Russia amid emerging evidence of mass slayings of Ukrainian civilians by invading Russian forces, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday. Le Maire said there is a “total determination” from all 27 European Union countries for more severe sanctions targeting oil and coal. 

Europe’s dependence on Russian oil, natural gas and coal had left energy sanctions off the table amid fears the entire continent could plunge into recession. 

Website links Ukraine refugees with hosts around the globe

A group of Harvard University students have created a website to help Ukrainian refugees find housing around the world., created by Avi Schiffmann and Marco Burstein, encourages everyone with space in their homes to post a listing. Refugees and hosts must provide identity verification either through government issued ID card or passport. Over 18,000 prospective hosts have signed up on the site. On a recent day, Burstein and Schiffman logged 800,000 users.

Burstein said he, Schiffman and Irish software engineer Daniel Conlon have been “blown away” by the response.

“We’ve heard all sorts of amazing stories of hosts and refugees getting connected all over the world,” Burstein said. “We have hosts in almost any country you can imagine from Hungary and Romania and Poland to Canada to Australia.”

State Department calls atrocities part of a ‘broader, troubling campaign’

The credible reports of torture, rape and civilian executions in Ukraine are probably not the acts of rogue soldiers, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday.

‘“They are part of a broader, troubling campaign,” he said at a State Department briefing.

Price said the world has been shocked by “the horrifying images of the Kremlin’s brutality” in Bucha and other cities near Kyiv. Civilians, many with their hands tied, were apparently executed in the streets.

Others were dumped in mass graves. As they’ve retreated, Russians have also left behind land mines and booby traps to injure more Ukrainians and slow recovery, Price said.

The apparent atrocities will be one of the topics of discussion when Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with his NATO counterparts in Belgium this week.

Allies are already discussing additional sanctions and ways to help Ukraine document war crimes for a criminal prosecution, Price said. The U.S. has contributed both money and manpower to help Ukraine’s prosecutor general compile a case.

— Maureen Groppe

Atrocities near Kyiv fuel global outrage. Will it be a tipping point in the war?

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Ukraine refugee flees to Germany for safety: ‘It’s duty as a mother’

With the help of German humanitarian volunteers, Ukraine refugees travel to Germany in hopes for a safe and better life far from war.

Jessica Koscielniak and Michelle Hanks, USA TODAY

German president admits mistakes with Russia

Germany’s president is admitting mistakes in policy toward Russia in his previous job as foreign minister. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier served twice foreign minister, most recently from 2013 to 2017, and pursued dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin to cultivate energy ties. Russia provides Germany with about one-third of it oil and gas and more than half its coal.

Ukraine and Polish officials have criticized Steinmeier for being too close to Russia. Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin boycotted a peace concert with Russian artists organized by Steinmeier. Steinmeier told ZDF television Tuesday that “we failed on many points,” including efforts to encourage Russia toward democracy and respecting human rights.

Contributing: The Associated Press