Civilians shot inside their homes or crushed by tanks as they sat in their cars. People tortured and summarily executed, their hands sometimes tied behind their backs. Throats slashed and limbs cut off. Women raped and killed in front of their children.
These were just some of the nightmarish scenes that unfolded under Russian occupation in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, President Volodymyr Zelensky told the United Nations Security Council in a virtual address on Tuesday.
"There is not a single crime they would not commit there," Zelensky said, comparing Russian fighters to ISIS militants and Nazi war criminals.
Zelensky's speech came a day after he visited Bucha, a small suburban city northwest of Kyiv that Ukraine retook from Russians in the past week, to see the devastation for himself. He described what he saw as among the worst war crimes since World War II.
"Now the world can see what the Russian military did in Bucha," Zelensky told the Security Council. "The world has yet to see what they have done in other occupied cities and regions of our country."
The Ukrainian leader not only used his UN speech to call for Russian fighters and officials to be prosecuted for war crimes, but to lambast the Security Council as an essentially useless body that, thanks to its design, had failed for decades to uphold peace around the world.
“Where is the security that the Security Council is supposed to be guaranteed?” he asked incredulously.
The veto power Russia enjoys as one of the five permanent members of the 15-member Security Council has enabled the country to carry on its campaign of violence and mass death in Ukraine without fear of international intervention, Zelensky said.
He called for the Security Council to either be immediately reformed to ensure fairer global representation and for Russia's veto to be removed, or for the body to be dissolved altogether.
“Are you ready to close the UN?” he said. “Do you think that the time of international law is gone? If your answer is no, then you need to act immediately.”
Zelensky offered to host a global conference in Kyiv in order to determine how to reform the global security system so as to prevent future violence elsewhere in the world.
"We must do everything in our power to pass on to the next generation an effective UN with the ability to respond preventively to security challenges," he said.
At the end of his address, Zelensky implored diplomats to watch a deeply disturbing video that showed scores of people killed in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine.
Some of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, while others appeared to have their hands tied behind their backs. Some corpses sat at the bottom of wells, while others were seen in mass graves, their lifeless faces peeking out of the dirt.
"Bucha is one of the many examples of what the occupiers have been doing on our land for 41 days,” Zelensky said.
“We need peace, Europe needs peace, and the world needs peace."