Poynter’s Latest News from Ukraine and Russia

From The Poynter Report with Tom Jones:

News reports from Ukraine grow more horrific by the day

We start today with an absolutely chilling account from NBC News veteran war correspondent Richard Engel after spending the morning in Bucha, Ukraine — the site of reportedly horrible atrocities by Russian troops against the citizens of Ukraine.

During a report on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Engel told host Chuck Todd this is like nothing he has ever seen before.

“I’ve been to many war zones and you go into a place where a battle has just occurred and it’s not uncommon to see bodies,” Engel said. “That is a natural result, unfortunately, of war. That’s what these weapons are designed to do. But this felt more like a crime scene. Many of the people had been executed, people have been executed at close range. Soldiers were going house to house, conducting searches, stealing everything they could get their hands on.”

Engel told the story of one apartment building where citizens wrote on their doors that they were peaceful and begged to be left alone.

“It didn’t help,” said Engel, who said most of the doors had been knocked off their hinges. The Russians were looking for, mostly, military-aged males and would take them as prisoners.

“If you talked back to them,” Engel said, “if you annoyed them in any way, we were told, they might just shoot you on the spot. And that happened in several cases in just this one building.”

Engel said one man was so scared that he jumped out of a third-story window (and is believed to have survived and escaped). Another woman who lived in the building said she and her husband buried four people who were killed in a small plot of land behind the building.

“That was just in one building,” Engel said. “And each building had a similar story of Russian troops who were firing at will at anyone and anything they chose to, terrorizing the people, stealing from the people and if they chose, they would take you away or execute you right there.”

Engel added, “And that is not a common battle scene.”

This is just one horrific, but specific and important report in a region full of such awful stories. These stories continue to be tough to digest, but they remain critical to see and hear and read.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an emotional address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, said Russian troops were killing civilians “just for their pleasure.” He said there was “not a single crime” that the Russian would not commit.

Zelenskyy said, “They shot and killed women outside their houses when they just tried to call someone. … They killed entire families, adults and children and they tried to burn the bodies. I am addressing you on behalf of the people who honor the memory of the deceased every single day and in the memory of the civilians who died, who were shot and killed in the back of their head after being tortured. Some of them were shot on the streets. Others were thrown into wells, so they died there suffering. They were killed in their apartments, houses, blown up by grenades. Civilians were crushed by tanks while sitting in their cars in the middle of the road, just for their pleasure. Women were raped and killed in front of their children. Their tongues were pulled out only because the aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them.”

And yet Russia continues to deny the allegations even though there appears to be plenty of evidence. Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, called the accusations against the Russian military “ungrounded” and “not confirmed by any eyewitnesses.”

Yet, to again be clear, news organizations continue to report on what appears to be gruesome signs of atrocities.

And, based on reporting out of Ukraine, we may hear more of these stories in the days and weeks ahead in a war that, sadly, does not appear close to ending.

More notable journalism from Ukraine-Russia

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