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Zelensky, European leaders honor memory of civilians killed in Bucha, discuss additional military aid

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 31, 2023 6:41 PM 2 min read
Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with the Prime Minister of Slovakia Eduard Heger on March 31, following a ceremony to mark the one year anniversary of the liberation of Bucha. (President's Office) 
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President Volodymyr Zelensky met with the prime ministers of Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia on March 31 following a ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Bucha, a town now synonymous with Russian war crimes against civilians.

Bucha, a small city near Kyiv, was occupied by Russian troops shortly after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. After it was liberated, mass graves were discovered and thousands of war crimes were documented.

According to estimates, Russian troops killed more than 1,400 people, including 37 children in Bucha district over 33 days of occupation, and committed over 9,000 war crimes.

Zelensky discussed defense assistance with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob, and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic during individual meetings with the leaders, according to the President's Office.

Zelensky thanked Slovakia for its military aid and support for Ukraine's integration with the European Union, the President’s Office reported. "We count on active assistance from Slovakia on this path," he said.

Slovakia promised to provide Ukraine with 13 MiG-29 fighter jets and has already transferred four of them on March 23.

During another meeting, Zelensky thanked Slovenia for its military help and discussed the reconstruction of Zhytomyr and Kharkiv oblasts, heavily damaged by Russian attacks.

Earlier in the day, the leaders, along with Moldovan President Maia Sandu brought candles to a church in Bucha to honor the memory of Russia’s war victims.

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