First Thing: Zelenskiy calls Russian forces ‘butchers’ over Bucha massacre

Show caption A satellite image shows a mass grave site near the Church of St Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints in Bucha, Ukraine. Photograph: Maxar Technologies/EPA First Thing First Thing: Zelenskiy calls Russian forces ‘butchers’ over Bucha massacre Ukraine president says worse atrocities may yet be uncovered as satellite images show mass grave near church in Bucha. Plus, scientists urge end to fossil fuel use Nicola Slawson Mon 4 Apr 2022 10.56 BST Share on Facebook

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Good morning.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said Russia’s public image is now one of torture and execution after the retreat of Russian forces in the town of Bucha led to the discovery of the remains of hundreds of civilians.

Calling Russian soldiers “murderers”, “butchers” and “rapists”, Zelenskiy said late on Sunday: “Your culture and human appearance perished together with the Ukrainian men and women.” He warned that “even worse things” may be found in other occupied regions.

Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians had been found in Kyiv area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces. Satellite images taken late last week show a 14-metre (45ft) mass grave in Bucha near the Church of St Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints. Maxar, the company that took the pictures, said the first signs of excavation for a mass grave there were seen on 10 March, several weeks into the invasion.

What has Russia said about the reports coming out of Bucha? Russia’s foreign ministry said footage of dead civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha had been “ordered” by the US as part of a plot to blame Russia.

Is rape being used as a weapon of war? There is a mounting body of evidence that summary executions, rape and torture have been used against civilians in areas under Russian control since the Kremlin launched the invasion of its neighbour on 24 February.

What else is happening? Here’s what we know on day 39 of the Russian invasion.

Blinken: growing evidence of Russian atrocities in Ukraine a ‘punch to the gut’

The secretary of state has promised US will join allies in documenting atrocities and hold perpetrators accountable. Photograph: Reuters

Growing evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine are “a punch to the gut”, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said yesterday, promising that the US would join its allies in documenting the atrocities to hold the perpetrators accountable.

A retreat of Russian forces around Kyiv has revealed evidence of atrocities against civilians as Ukrainian troops and journalists have moved back into a broad swathe of suburbs and towns around the capital.

“We can’t become numb to this. We can’t normalize this. This is the reality of what’s going on every single day as long as Russia’s brutality against Ukraine continues,” Blinken said on CNN’s State of the Union.

“You can’t help but see these images as a punch to the gut. We said before Russia’s aggression we thought it was likely that they would commit atrocities. Since the aggression we’ve come out and said we believe that Russian forces have committed war crimes, and we’ve been working to document that to provide the information that we have to relevant institutions and organizations that will put all of this together.

“There needs to be accountability for it,” he added.

What is the US government going to do go help Ukraine? Blinken would not be drawn on the details of US military aid being sent to Ukraine, but said the aim was “to make sure they have the systems they need”.

Grammy awards 2022: Olivia Rodrigo wins big and Zelenskiy makes cameo

Olivia Rodrigo, who won best new artist and best pop vocal album. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

The teenage pop phenom Olivia Rodrigo and the R&B duo Silk Sonic dominated the major categories, and Jon Batiste won album of the year at the 64th annual Grammys – a three-and-a-half-hour mega concert that mostly steered clear of politics or the pandemic, save for a virtual message from Zelenskiy and an emotional tribute to victims of the Russian invasion.

A week after one of the most chaotic Oscars in recent memory – during which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage – the Grammys seemed to revel in its technical proficiency and lack of controversy. “We’re gonna be listening to some music, we’re gonna be dancing, we’re gonna be singing, we’re gonna be keeping people’s names out of our mouths,” said host Trevor Noah in his opening monologue, acknowledging the elephant in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“Don’t even think of it as an awards show,” said Noah, who returned to the Grammys stage after emceeing last year’s Covid-straitened ceremony. “This is a concert where we give out awards.”

What did Zelenskiy say? “The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence. 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.”

In other news …

Crime scene investigators place evidence markers at the scene of a mass shooting in Sacramento. Photograph: Jose Carlos Fajardo/AP

Police in Sacramento, California, are hunting for at least two suspects after six people were killed and 10 others injured during a shooting in the city’s downtown early yesterday morning. Three men and three women were among those killed but none of the victims have been identified yet.

They survived intact for 112m years through scorching summer heat and freezing winters at Utah’s Mill Canyon , but several of the world’s most important and historic dinosaur footprints were damaged beyond repair earlier this year when a construction crew arrived to build a new boardwalk for tourists.

The Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, who has governed the global financial hub through the unprecedented upheaval of anti-government protests and Covid-19 , has said she will not seek a second five-year term of office. Lam took office in 2017 with a pledge to unite a city growing resentful of Beijing’s tightening grip.

Viktor Orbán has won a fourth successive term as Hungary’s prime minister, capping a campaign dominated by his controversial stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a speech that appeared to mock Zelenskiy.

Don’t miss this: Inside the joyful Lombardy home of Rosita Missoni

Just like the prints of her fashion label, the Missoni co-founder’s family home is full of jubilant colour and pattern. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

In Sumirago, a suburb of Varese in Lombardy, where the verdant surrounds sit in the shadow of the famously pastel-tinted Monte Rosa, Rosita Missoni is describing the scene outside her window, writes Scarlett Conlon. “It really is a beautiful day, the sky is a bright blue and the mountain is white,” she says. “It’s why we came here originally, because of this fabulous view – and why my husband insisted on big windows everywhere.”

… or this: To have a child or not is a huge decision. So why is there so little discussion of it?

More open conversations and better support are needed for people grappling with this momentous choice. Photograph: Alex Segre/Alamy

Before the advent of contraception, becoming a parent couldn’t really be described as a decision at all. Perhaps this is why my search for historical sources that showed women interrogating the question was rather fruitless, writes Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett. Even speaking to women of older generations, who came of age post-contraception, there’s a sense that there wasn’t much thought given to the question. “It’s just what you did”, is a sentence that came up, time and time again.

Climate check: Scientists urge end to fossil fuel use as landmark IPCC report readied

Students protest about government climate inaction in Toulouse, France, last month. Photograph: Alain Pitton/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock

The world must abandon fossil fuels as a matter of urgency, rather than entrusting the future climate to untried “techno-fixes” such as sucking carbon out of the air, scientists and campaigners have urged, as governments wrangled over last-minute changes to a landmark scientific report. Governments have been accused of trying to water down the scientists’ findings, originally due to be published early today but – after delays and disagreements yesterday – postponed by six hours to later the same day.

Last Thing: German man suspected of having 90 Covid jabs to sell vaccination cards

The man was caught after he showed up at a vaccination centre for a Covid shot for a second day in a row. Photograph: Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images

A 60-year-old man allegedly had himself vaccinated against Covid-19 dozens of times in Germany in order to sell vaccination cards to people who did not want to get the jab themselves. The man from the eastern Germany city of Magdeburg, whose name was not released in line with German privacy rules, is said to have received up to 90 shots against Covid at vaccination centres in Saxony for months until he was caught by police, the German news agency dpa reported on Sunday.

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