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Iran Press TV

Lavrov: Ukraine's Bucha allegations 'fake attack' to undermine Russia

Iran Press TV

Monday, 04 April 2022 2:29 PM

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Ukraine's account of what happened in the town of Bucha is a "fake attack" aiming to undermine Moscow.

Kiev and the West accuse Russian troops of killing 'hundreds of people' in the Ukrainian town.

On Monday, Lavrov reiterated that Russian forces were not involved in any act of killing civilians once they were in control of Bucha. The so-called dead bodies in footage circulating the internet, the minister said, were "staged" and the images of them plus Ukraine's false version of events had been spread on social media by Kiev and Western countries.

"The other day another fake attack was carried out in the city of Bucha in the Kiev region after the Russian servicemen left the area in accordance with the plans and agreements reached. A fake attack was staged there a few days later, and it's being fomented on all channels and social media by Ukrainian representatives and their Western patrons," the Russian foreign minister said at talks in Moscow with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths, TASS reported.

Kiev on Sunday urged major Western powers, including the United States, to impose crippling fresh sanctions on Moscow over what it called a "massacre" in Bucha, a newly liberated town 37 kilometers northwest of the capital.

In a video message on Saturday, the mayor of Bucha, Anatoliy Fedoruk, claimed that 300 people had been killed by the Russian army with some appearing to have been bound by their hands and feet before being shot. He also presented footage and photographs showing the dead bodies of those allegedly killed or executed by Russian troops, claiming that 280 bodies had been buried in mass graves while nearly 10 others were either unburied or only partially covered by earth.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russian forces were committing "genocide" in Bucha, vowing to investigate possible war crimes. His Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also labeled it a "deliberate massacre."

The allegations of "mass graves" and "executed" civilians caused anger in Western capitals. Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union all called for those responsible to be brought to book at the international tribunal in The Hague.

Lavrov also said on Monday that Russian troops completely pulled out of Bucha on March 30.

"On March 31, the mayor [of Bucha] solemnly said that he had everything in order. And two days later we saw the same staging organized in the streets, which they are now trying to use for anti-Russian purposes," the Russian foreign minister said.

"A couple of weeks ago there were attempts to present the situation in a maternity hospital in Mariupol as a crime by the Russian military. As it later turned out, the attempts were made with a blatantly provocative purpose, and fake materials were presented, which were exposed," the Russian foreign minister said.

On Sunday, Russia's Defense Ministry denied the Bucha allegation and condemned it as "yet another allegation" and a "staged performance" by the Ukrainian government.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced a "special military operation" on February 24 to demilitarize Donetsk and Luhansk, largely populated by ethnic Russians, in eastern Ukraine. The United States and its European allies have labeled the military operation as "Putin's land grab," imposing unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.

Moscow: Footage in Bucha was 'ordered' to blame Russia

Late on Sunday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said the footage of dead civilians in Bucha had been "ordered" by the United States as part of a plot to blame Russia.

"Who are the masters of provocation? Of course the United States and NATO," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an interview on state television.

She said the immediate outcry of the Western states over the images was an indication that the story had been part of a scheme to damage Russia's reputation.

"In this case, it seems to me that the fact that these statements (about Russia) were made in the first minutes after these materials appeared leaves no doubt as to who 'ordered' this story."

She said Moscow would demand again that the UN Security Council meet to discuss what she called the Ukrainian military's provocation in Bucha.

Kremlin slams Polish comments on readiness to host nuclear weapons

Separately on Monday, Moscow denounced comments by the leader of Poland's ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who said Warsaw would welcome American nuclear weapons on its soil and would be ready to have a 50-percent increase in the number of US troops in Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call that such a move would only lead to more tension.

Russian troops no longer in control of Ukraine's Sumy: Governor

Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, the governor of Ukraine's northern region of Sumy, said on Monday that Russian forces were no longer holding sway over any towns or villages in the region. The governor, who was speaking on national television, said Russian troops had mostly withdrawn from the region, while Ukrainian forces were working to push out the remaining units.

According to Zhyvytskyi, Russian troops had left behind a lot of equipment in the region, which is located on Ukraine's border with Belarus.

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