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Russia’s top diplomat has dismissed Ukraine’s accusations that Russian troops committed atrocities against its civilians as a staged provocation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the start of his talks with UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths that Moscow sees the claim of a massacre of civilians on the outskirts of Kyiv as ‘a provocation that posed a direct threat to global peace and security’.
Lavrov noted that Russia has called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council but the UK that currently chairs it refused to convene. He vowed to press the demand for holding the meeting.
Lavrov said Russia’s mission to the United Nations would hold a press conference in New York with ‘the most detailed material to show the true nature of incidents in Bucha’.
Meanwhile, the sentiment was echoed by Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, who said Russia will present ’empirical evidence’ to the UN Security Council that proves its forced have not been killing civilians and were not involved in the events in Bucha.
‘We have empirical evidence to support this,’ Nebenzya said at a press conference. ‘We intend to submit them to the Security Council as soon as possible so that the international community is not misled by the false plot of Kyiv and its Western sponsors.’
Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in areas outside the Ukrainian capital after last week’s withdrawal of Russian troops.
Horrific images show many civilians with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture. A growing number of world leaders have voiced outrage and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said his country will hold a press conference to prove that claims Vladimir Putin’s troops have been committing war crimes in Ukraine are false
Pictured: Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, who said Russia will present ’empirical evidence’ to the UN Security Council that proves its forced have not been killing civilians
Lavrov charged that the mayor of Bucha made no mention of atrocities against civilians a day after Russian troops left Bucha on Wednesday, but two days later scores of bodies were photographed scattered in the streets in what the Russian minister described as a ‘stage-managed anti-Russian provocation’.
Meanwhile, a Russian law enforcement agency has said it has launched its own investigation into allegations that Ukrainian civilians were massacred, focusing on what it calls ‘false information’ about Russian forces.
The Investigative Committee claims Ukrainian authorities made the allegations ‘with the aim of discrediting Russian troops’ and that those involved should be investigated over possible breaches of a new Russian law banning what the government deems to be false information about its forces.
Russian law enforcement has launched several investigations since Russian troops entered Ukraine, typically into incidents such as the shelling of areas held by Russia-backed separatists.
Since the evidence of atrocities emerged from Bucha and surrounding areas, various Russian outlets, including foreign embassies around the world, have tried to claim the photos and videos have been staged.
Claims include that one body appears to be moving in video taken from a moving car but this was later debunked by fact-checkers and proved to be a mark on the windshield.
Bags containing bodies of civilians, who according to residents was killed by Russian soldiers
Volunteers unload bags containing bodies of civilians, who according to residents were killed by Russian army soldiers, after they collected them from the streets of Bucha, near Kyiv
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted: ‘It is of particular worry that all the bodies of the people whose images have been published by the Kiev regime are not stiffened after at least four days.’
But a forensic pathologist who has worked on war crime investigations told the BBC that after four days, the process of stiffening – known as rigor mortis – has usually subsided.
Moscow faced global revulsion and accusations of war crimes Monday after the Russian pullout from the outskirts of Kyiv revealed streets strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, some of whom had seemingly been killed at close range.
The grisly images of battered bodies left out in the open or hastily buried led to calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, namely a cutoff of fuel imports from Russia.
Germany and France reacted by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, suggesting they were spies, and US President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.
On Monday, Biden called for a trial, adding to the global outcry over civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha as more graphic images of their deaths emerged.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the media it was ‘pretty obvious’ Russia was responsible
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said Russian forces are obviously responsible for the atrocities in Bucha, even as it acknowledged it was not yet sure precisely which units were operating in the area.
‘I think it’s fairly obvious, not just to us but to the world, that Russian forces are responsible for the atrocities in Bucha,’ Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing.
‘Now exactly who – what units, whether they’re contractors or Chechens – I don’t think we’re able to say right now. But we’re certainly not refuting that these atrocities occurred and occurred at the hands of Russians.’
The Kremlin categorically denied any accusations relating to the murder of civilians, including in Bucha, where it said the graves and corpses had been staged by Ukraine to tarnish Russia.
Asked at a news conference about Biden’s comments, Lavrov said the West should first consider its own actions in Iraq and Libya.
Speaking in a televised broadcast, Vladimir Solviev (pictured above), who is a prominent pro-Putin personality, added: ‘It’s obvious people will try to blame us as a people behind genocide’
‘Not all is well with the conscience… of American politicians,’ he said.
Speaking in a broadcast last night, Vladimir Soloviev, a prominent pro-Putin personality who supports the invasion, added: ‘The war against Russia entered a new phase today. Very soon we will be blamed of genocide.’
He alleged the plot was masterminded by Britain as he praised the ‘true patriots’ in Donbas as other sources have accused Kyiv of staging the horrifying scenes in Bucha.
Soloviev also brought up allegations of Russian troops raping young women in front of their families, at one point saying he ‘doesn’t even want to comment’ on the topic.
It comes as the Russian defence ministry rejected the allegations and claimed that ‘not a single civilian suffered from violence when the town was controlled by the Russian Armed Forces’.
Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said: ‘I would like to point out that Russian troops left Bucha on March 30.
‘The Ukrainian authorities remained silent all these days, and now they have suddenly posted sensational footage in order to tarnish Russia’s image and make Russia defend itself.
‘I would like to emphasise with full responsibility that not a single civilian suffered from violence when the town was controlled by the Russian Armed Forces.
An elderly woman collects wood to heat her house in the devastated Bucha, northwest of Kyiv
Lavrov (above) said Russia’s mission to the UN would later on Monday hold a press conference in New York with ‘the most detailed material to show the true nature of incidents in Bucha’
‘On the contrary, our troops delivered 452 tonnes of humanitarian aid for civilians.
‘Meanwhile, the fact that the Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled the town of Bucha right after Russian troops had left was deliberately ignored in the US.
‘This is what could have caused civilian casualties. That said, the Kyiv regime is clearly trying to blame its atrocities on Russia.’
Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of the Russian upper house of parliament, said: ‘There are no doubts that it is a staging organised by Kyiv authorities.
‘And the fact that the West has picked it up and is hyping it makes it an accomplice of this cynical and immoral crime.’
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed Kyiv colluded with the West in seeking to blame Russia.
‘I think that the very fact that these statements were made minutes after these materials were released leaves no doubts as for who has contracted this story,’ she told state-run Rossiya-1 television channel.
She claimed the West decided immediately Russia was to blame ‘based on the videos, seconds-long videos and several photos. And they are ready to pour accusations.
A satellite photo show a probable grave site (circled) near the Church of Saint Andrew in Bucha
‘No expert work done, no information from the other side throwing light on what is going on…’
She also alleged the massacres were ‘a provocation staged by the Ukrainian military and radical nationalists’ to disrupt peace talks.
Meanwhile the Telegram channel War on Fakes, which has been accused of spreading misinformation about the invasion, shared posts discrediting the atrocities pictured and filmed in Bucha and said it was part of a ‘planned media campaign’.
One post said: ‘Fake: The Russian military left Bucha, having previously left huge casualties among the civilian population.
‘Truth: Notes about Bucha appeared in several foreign publications at once – it looks like a planned media campaign.
‘Given that the troops left the city on March 30, where were these footage for 4 days? Their absence only confirms the fake.
‘The video with the bodies is puzzling: here, at 12 seconds, the ‘corpse’ on the right moves its hand.
‘At 30 seconds in the rearview mirror, the ‘corpse’ sits down. The bodies in the video seem to have been deliberately laid out in order to create a more dramatic picture.’
Larisa Savenko 72, stands outside her damaged home with Andriy Leshbon in Bucha, Ukraine
Soldiers walk amid destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday
‘This is clearly seen if you play video at a speed of 0.25 of normal.’
This was shared by the Russian Ministry of Defence Telegram channel.
Meanwhile the Kremlin today said that it categorically denied any accusations related to the murder of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, adding that Ukrainian allegations on the matter should be treated with doubt.
Yesterday Ukrainian authorities said they were investigating possible crimes by Russian forces after finding hundreds of bodies strewn around towns outside Kyiv following Russian withdrawal from the area.
‘This information must be seriously questioned,’ Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
‘From what we have seen, our experts have identified signs of video falsification and other fakes.’
Peskov said that the facts and chronology of the events in Bucha did not support Ukraine’s version of events and urged international leaders not to rush to judgment.
‘We categorically deny any accusations,’ said Peskov.
‘The situation is undoubtedly serious and we would ask that many international leaders not rush with their statements, not rush with their baseless accusations, request information from different sources, and at least listen to our explanations.’
Source: Daily Mail