Live updates | Ukraine to probe alleged Russian atrocities

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the country will conduct a probe into alleged atrocities against civilians by Russian troops involving international investigators.

Zelenskyy said in an address that “the world has seen many war crimes,” adding that “the time has come to make the war crimes committed by Russian troops the last such evil on Earth.” He said that a special justice mechanism will be created to investigate the Russian atrocities with participation of international prosecutors and judges.

Ukrainian authorities have said that the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the Ukrainian capital after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops — many with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture. International leaders have condemned the reported atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Russia has rejected the accusations of killing civilians as a “provocation” by Ukrainian authorities and initiated a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the issue.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre, city strewn with bodies

— ‘Fill the silence with your music,’ Zelenskyy tells Grammys

— Russia war could further escalate auto prices and shortages

Drug shortages persist in Russia after start of Ukraine war

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities are reporting more civilian casualties from the Russian barrage.

At least seven people were killed and 34, including three children, were wounded in a Russian rocket attack on Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv late Sunday, according to the regional prosecutor’s office. It said that 10 buildings were destroyed.

In the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, regional Gov. Vitaliy Kim said at least one resident was killed and 14 others were wounded by Russian shelling late Sunday. Local authorities also reported more Russian strikes on Mykolaiv early Monday, but there was no immediate word of casualties.

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TOKYO — Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said he was “deeply shocked” by Russia’s alleged attacks on civilians in the Ukrainian towns and called for firm investigations by the International Criminal Court over Moscow’s “war crimes,” echoing Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s earlier condemnation of the reported attacks “as violation to international law.”

“We are deeply shocked by revelations of Russia’s extremely ghastly actions that victimized many Ukrainian citizens,” Matsuno told reporters Monday. “Attacks on innocent citizens violate international human rights law and are absolutely unforgivable.”

Matsuno noted that Tokyo had filed a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court against Russia over its war on Ukraine in March and that Japan expects the court to fully investigate the “war crimes” allegedly committed by Moscow.

Matsuno said Japan will continue to cooperate with the other members of the Group of Seven advanced economies and the international society in possible further sanctions against Russia, but he did not elaborate.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday described reports of rape and other atrocities by Russian troops in Ukraine as “reprehensible.”

Bodies with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture lay scattered in a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian soldiers withdrew from the area. Ukrainian authorities accused the departing forces on Sunday of committing war crimes and leaving behind a “scene from a horror movie.”

“The reports of Ukrainian civilians who have been killed, raped and severely wounded by Russian troops is beyond reprehensible,” Ardern told reporters in the New Zealand capital Wellington.

“Russia must answer to the world for what they’ve done,” she said.

She said her Cabinet considered on Monday further measures New Zealand could take to support Ukraine and send a strong message to Russia. Further details would be outlined this week.

“Certainly, what we as an international community are seeing are evidence of war crimes at the hands of Russia,” Ardern said.

“Ultimately it is for the International Criminal Court to make that determination, but the evidence is there and New Zealand is supporting the prosecutors in gathering that evidence and making sure that Russia is held to account,” she added.

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LAS VEGAS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appeared in a video at the Grammy Awards asking for support in telling the story of Ukraine’s invasion by Russia.

During the pre-recorded message that aired on the show Sunday night, he spoke in English, likening the attack to a deadly silence threatening to extinguish the dreams and lives of the Ukrainian people, including children.

In his words: “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.”

The Recording Academy, with its partner Global Citizen, prior to the ceremony highlighted a social media campaign called “Stand Up For Ukraine” to raise money and humanitarian support.

Zelenskyy told the audience: “Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV, support us in any way you can any, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities.”

Following Zelenskyy’s message, John Legend performed his song “Free” with Ukrainian musicians Siuzanna Iglidan and Mika Newton and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk as images from the war were shown on screens behind them.

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KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian military says that its forces have retaken some towns in the Chernihiv region and that humanitarian aid is being delivered.

The news agency RBK Ukraina says the road between Chernihiv and the capital of Kyiv is to reopen to some traffic later Monday.

Chernihiv is a city 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Kyiv and it had been cut off from shipments of food and other supplies for weeks. The mayor said Sunday that relentless Russian shelling had destroyed 70% of the city.

Russian forces also withdrew from the Sumy region, in Ukraine’s northeast, local administrator Dmitry Zhivitsky said in a video message carried by Ukrainian news agencies Sunday. The troops had occupied the area for nearly a month.

In other areas recently retaken from Russian troops, Ukrainian officials say they have recovered hundreds of slain civilians in the past few days. Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been recovered from Kyiv-area towns.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian troops.

Iryna Venediktova says on Facebook that the bodies were recovered Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She says 140 of them have undergone examination by prosecutors and other specialists.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says the mayor of the village of Motyzhyn in the Kyiv region was murdered while being held by Russian forces. Vereshchuk adds that there are 11 mayors and community heads in Russian captivity across Ukraine.

In a video address Sunday, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the allegedly targeted killings of civilians in towns that the Russians occupied, calling the killers “freaks who do not know how to do otherwise.” He warns that more atrocities may be revealed if Russian forces are driven out of other occupied areas.

International leaders have condemned the reported attacks in the Kyiv-area towns after harrowing accounts from civilians and graphic images of bodies with hands tied behind their backs.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has rejected the claims of atrocities against civilians in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv.

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