The Kremlin is denying Ukrainian allegations that Russian troops were involved in war crimes in the city of Bucha, located on the outskirts of Kiev.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the claims must be properly investigated and not taken at face value by western leaders, noting that information provided by the Ukrainian government “should be subject to serious skepticism.”
Peskov claimed that Russian military specialists found evidence of video manipulation and other forms of fabrication surrounding the alleged massacre of civilians at Bucha.
“The facts and the timeline likewise speak against the veracity of the claims,” he said.
Bucha, a small city on the outskirts of Kiev, was under Russian control since late February, when Russia first launched a military campaign against Ukraine. Russian forces withdrew last week following progress made at the Ukraine-Russia peace talks in Turkey.
Several days following the Russian withdrawal, Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian troops committed war crimes against civilians in Bucha, posting now-viral footage of alleged corpses laying dead on the streets. Ukraine claimed that Russian forces executed non-combatants before the withdrawal, in what Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba described as a “genocide.”
The Russian military responded to the claims on Sunday, denying the accusations and stating that the evidence provided by Ukraine and by media outlets friendly to the Kiev government came only days following the withdrawal.
Russia’s defence ministry pointed out that Bucha’s mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, did not mention any of the atrocities when he announced the Russian withdrawal on March 31. Fedoruk told CNN on early Monday that “we will never forgive the Russian people” after the videos and images went viral.
Peskov said Moscow wanted to open an inquest into the allegations at a UN Security Council meeting, but the call to hold the meeting has been stonewalled by the United Kingdom, which is currently presiding over the council.
“The situation is undeniably serious. We call on certain world leaders not to rush with false accusations and get their information from various sources and at least hear out our arguments,” he said.