Rusal Chairman Bernard Zonneveld said in a statement that recent reports of atrocities from the town, which was occupied by Russian troops for a month until the end of March, had shocked the company.
“We believe that this crime should be thoroughly investigated,” he said. “We support an objective and impartial investigation of this crime and call for severe punishment for the perpetrators.”
Zonneveld’s statement did not address who may be responsible for the atrocities but went on to say that “such incidents make this terrible tragedy all the more traumatic.”
“We all wish an early end to this fratricidal conflict, which destroys lives, families and entire cities. And we want those responsible for such crimes to be punished appropriately,” the statement reads.
Russian companies have largely remained silent on the war in Ukraine. Yet the shocking scenes in Bucha that emerged last weekend convinced the metals giant to speak out. The bodies of unarmed civilians were found strewn across roads, bound and shot.
Russia has denied any involvement in the incident, claiming — without evidence — that the atrocities in Bucha were staged, and part of a “planned media campaign.” Witnesses who have spoken to CNN said the carnage in the town began weeks ago, when it was occupied by Russian forces.
Zonneveld, a Dutch citizen, said that Rusal was calling for an early peaceful resolution of this conflict “to preserve priceless human lives and return to normalcy.”
The metals company operates across five continents, and was responsible for 6% of the world’s aluminum production in 2019, according to its website.
Its founder, Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, said on messaging app Telegram last week that the war was “madness” and could have already been resolved through negotiations.
Many of Russia’s oligarchs — comprising a select group of ultra-wealthy business leaders — have kept quiet on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine, despite being the targets of punishing Western sanctions.
But Deripaska broke ranks shortly after the invasion in late February to call for peace, while billionaire Roman Abramovich, the outgoing owner of Chelsea Football Club, has attended talks between Russia and Ukraine.