US Secretary of State Antony Blinken departed Tuesday for a key meeting of NATO foreign ministers, maintaining that recent visual evidence of mass atrocities in Ukraine are not the "random act of a rogue unit."
"It’s a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities. The reports are more than credible," said Blinken, referring to images that appear to depict mass atrocities against civilians in a formerly Russian-held area outside Kyiv.
"The evidence is there for the world to see. This reinforces our determination and the determination of countries around the world to make sure that one way or another, one day or another, there is accountability for those who committed these acts, for those who ordered them," he added.
The comments come in the wake of shocking photos and videos of apparent brutal killings of civilians in Bucha, which was formerly occupied by Russian forces. Russia withdrew from the area around March 30.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow are facing vehement criticism from the international community after Ukraine accused Russian forces of committing “genocide” and “war crimes” in Bucha.
Russia has rejected the allegations as a “fake news attack,” arguing that images of dead bodies and footage of slain civilians that have drawn global outrage were staged after Russian forces withdrew from the city.
NATO foreign ministers are slated to meet April 6 - 7 in Brussels, alongside counterparts from Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Georgia, the EU and several Indo-Pacific partners, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Russia’s war against Ukraine, which started Feb. 24, has met international outrage, with the EU, US, and UK, among others, implementing tough sanctions on Moscow.
At least 1,480 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,195 injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be far higher.
More than 4.21 million Ukrainians have also fled to other countries, with about 7 million more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.