Images of the murderous carnage left behind by the retreating Russian troops on the outskirts of Kyiv are highly distressing, and so they should be.
A grisly tour was arranged for the media by Ukrainian forces this week to show the horrors they have uncovered in recent days. Ukraine wants the world to see the evidence before investigators remove the bodies and begin gathering evidence of possible war crimes by Russian troops.
This forensic process will be needed to counter Kremlin claims that the atrocities were either staged or the work of Ukrainian forces.
The images and reports of torture and executions committed in the towns around Ukraine's capital drew condemnation from around the world. Ukrainian authorities hope it could be a turning point in the Western response to the full-blown invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24. But that may backfire, for reasons we'll return to.
The US and its allies have sought to punish Russia for the invasion by imposing sweeping sanctions but fear further harm to a global economy still recovering from the pandemic.
Europe is in a particular bind as it gets 40 per cent of its gas and 25 per cent of its oil from Russia. Turning the taps off would bring extreme hardship, potentially deaths from cold and starvation. Shutting off Russian fuel might mean rationing gas to companies to protect homes and hospitals.
Western sanctions have so far targeted Russian banks and companies but oil and gas payments remain untouched under a US concession to keep European allies on board and present a united front. The US imports little oil and no natural gas from Russia as it has used fracking to become a major producer and exporter of oil and gas.
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Europe meanwhile had some oil and gas deposits, but production has been declining, leaving the 27-country EU dependent on imports.
European countries have increasingly turned to Russian energy while dismantling coal-burning and nuclear generators. Transition to renewable, green provisions is still in variable stages of development.
The Associated Press reports that Europe now imports 155 billion cubic metres of gas from Russia every year. Of this, 140 billion is supplied via pipelines crossing Ukraine, Poland, and under the Baltic Sea. Europe is attempting to ship additional fuel in the form of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, but that can't replace pipeline supplies.
The funds for fuel are undoubtedly financing Putin's war, he as much as confirmed it when he demanded payments in Russian rubles.
So the world watches on, wringing haemoglobin-tainted hands. Sanctions can only go so far before impacting too heavily on those outside the conflict. Major powers are shackled by Putin's threat of a nuclear response to more direct military support for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, revelations of the atrocities of Bucha and surrounding villages may only serve to prolong the war. The horrors inflicted on her people may make Ukraine even less likely to accept any concessions to bring about peace.
Ukrainian blood is pouring out through the pipelines to Europe.