The British prime minister has directly addressed Russians, partly in their own language, saying they deserve the truth and that “history will remember those who looked the other way”.
Political reporter
Tuesday 5 April 2022 19:29, UK
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Boris Johnson has described atrocities being committed in Ukraine as a “stain on the honour of Russia itself” in a stark video message to the Russian people.
In the video, published on Twitter and including brief passages spoken in Russian, the prime minister tells them they “deserve the truth” about the massacre of civilians and rape of women in places such as Bucha and Irpin.
Mr Johnson urges Russians to find and share the facts for themselves by using a VPN connection, enabling them to bypass internet controls in their own country and access independent information.
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The prime minister’s tweet warns that the video contains distressing scenes.
In Russian, the PM says: “The Russian people deserve the truth, you deserve the facts.”
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The message continues in English – with Russian subtitles – saying that the atrocities committed by Russian troops include civilians shot dead with their hands tied, women raped in front of their children and “bodies crudely burned, dumped in mass graves, or just left lying in the street”.
Mr Johnson adds: “The reports are so shocking, so sickening, it’s no wonder your government is seeking to hide them from you. Your president knows that if you could see what was happening, you would not support his war.”
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The crimes, said the PM, “betray the trust of every Russian mother who proudly waves goodbye to her son as he heads off to join the military”. 
“And he knows they are a stain on the honour of Russia itself,” the PM added. “A stain that will only grow larger and more indelible every day this war continues.”
“Those responsible will be held to account. And history will remember who looked the other way.”
The message concludes in Russian: “Your president stands accused of committing war crimes. But I cannot believe he’s acting in your name.”
Read more: Drone footage appears to show Russian vehicles shooting towards cyclist in Bucha
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It is the latest message from Mr Johnson designed to address the Russian people directly, after a previous video in February in which he also spoke in Russian and told them: “I do not believe this war is in your name.”
In America, President Joe Biden has described Vladimir Putin as a war criminal in the wake of the discoveries in Bucha, and the US has said it will seek to build a war crimes case against the Russian leader.
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