The FINANCIAL — Meta is blocking facebook posts with images of civilian killings in Bucha, a Ukrainian city liberated from Russian troops. The FINANCIAL was contacted by Facebook users in Georgia who received warnings from Meta about the Violation of Community Standards. “Repeatedly violating our Community Standards can cause further account restriction”, meta warned. (see sreenshots).
The shocking images of the carnage in Bucha were captured by Agence France-Presse on Saturday, the same day Ukraine declared the town liberated from Russian troops. Accounts of alleged Russian atrocities are emerging as its forces retreat from areas near Kyiv following a failed bid to encircle the capital.
President Zelensky in Bucha: Ukraine wants “to show the world what happened here”
The town of Bucha has endured five weeks of near-constant firefights. Now officials and human rights groups are blaming the civilian deaths on the departed Russian forces.
“Corpses of executed people still line the Yabluska street in Bucha. Their hands are tied behind their backs with white ‘civilian’ rags, they were shot in the back of their heads. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they perpetrated here,” Bucha mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk told Reuters on Saturday.
Bucha is a small town on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv. It had a population of roughly 35,000 before the Russian invasion.
In Bucha, Russian forces “rounded up five men and summarily executed one of them” on March 4, Human Rights Watch wrote. A witness told the group that soldiers forced the men to kneel on the road and pulled their shirts over their heads, before shooting one of the men in the back of the head.
Biden says Putin should face war crimes trial over Bucha
HRW also alleges that on February 27, six men were rounded up in the village of Staryi Bykiv in the Chernihiv region and later executed.
In Malaya Rohan, a village in the Kharkiv region, a Russian soldier repeatedly raped a woman in a school where she was sheltering with her family on March 13, the victim told HRW. “She said that he beat her and cut her face, neck, and hair with a knife,” HRW wrote. The woman fled to Kharkiv the following day, “where she was able to get medical treatment and other services.”
And in the village of Vorzel, 31 miles northwest of Kyiv, Russian soldiers “threw a smoke grenade into a basement, then shot a woman and a 14-year-old child as they emerged from the basement, where they had been sheltering,” HRW said.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy said it was clear hundreds of civilians had been killed, but that he did not want to say exactly how many there were, as efforts were still under way to clear mines in the area.
World media on Bucha Masacre
Revulsion at the atrocities committed by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha dominates today’s front pages, as politicians lined up around the world to condemn the massacre of hundreds of civilians.
The Mirror says simply “Genocide” in its headline under the bleak strapline: “Putin’s latest atrocities”.
The Guardian carries a scene of destruction in Bucha on its front page, with the headline: “Horror in Bucha: Russia accused of torture and massacre of civilians”. It notes the call for further sanctions and military support from the west in light of the mass killing of unarmed civilians.
The Times has “Civilians shot in the streets” in its headline, and reports many victims had been bound “execution style” after its journalists visited two sites in Bucha. It quotes MI6 head Richard Moore as saying the manner of the killings were “horrifying and chilling”. The paper’s front page contains graphic images.
CNN published graphic images from Bucha, that show the bodies of at least 20 men in the street, and some had their arms bound behind their backs.
Facktchecking of Bucha Killing by BBC
BBC has published Fact-checking of Russian claims on “a staged provocation by the Kiev regime”about Bucha killings”. BBC says Russian claims are unfounded.
Facebook community standards
Last month Meta Platforms (FB.O) said it will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion. The temporary policy changes on calls for violence to Russian soldiers apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine, according to one email.
In responce to Meta’s decision Moscow said it was partially limiting access to Facebook, a move the company said came after it refused a government request to stop the independent fact-checking of several Russian state media outlets.
Currently Meta is allowing the Russian Ministry of Defence to share military propaganda information via its official facebook page .
Independent Association of Georgian Journalists said Meta should allow users to share images from Ukraine. “Facebook is limiting the voices of victims”, said IAGJ.