(Reuters) – The mayor of the Ukrainian town of Bucha near Kyiv said on Tuesday that authorities had so far found 403 bodies of people they believed were killed by Russian forces during their occupation of the area but that the number was growing.
Anatoliy Fedoruk added during a briefing that it was too early for residents to return to the town, after Russian soldiers retreated late last month.
Reuters could not immediately verify Fedoruk’s comments about the number of people found dead in Bucha. Reuters has witnessed the remains of five victims in Bucha who were shot through the head but has not been able to independently determine who was responsible.
Moscow, which has repeatedly denied targeting civilians since its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, has called allegations that Russian forces executed civilians in Bucha while they occupied the town a “monstrous forgery” aimed at denigrating the Russian army.
(Reporting by Max Hunder; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Gareth Jones)