Bucha massacre: What happened and who is to blame?

What happened in Bucha and who is going to be punished for it?

Moscow strongly denies accusations of mass civilian killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha near Kiev and offers to discuss the topic at the highest possible level, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, TASS reports.

“We strongly reject any of those allegations. Moreover, we believe that this topic should be discussed at the highest level possible,” he said. 

In this regard, Peskov noted, Moscow took the initiative to "consider this topic at the Security Council." Russian diplomats will continue active efforts to promote this issue onto the agenda of the UN Security Council.

The video materials that Ukraine earlier distributed should not be trusted. Specialists of the Russian Ministry of Defense have already identified signs of video forgery and fakes in those materials, Peskov said.

Earlier, Kiev and many foreign media outlets disseminated information about the massacre of civilians in Bucha by the Russian military. The Russian Defense Ministry called those reports a provocation. The department also reported that on March 31, the mayor of Bucha, Anatoly Fedoruk, confirmed that there were no Russian military in the town, but he did not mention anything about the killings of local residents on the streets.

On April 3, Russia requested a meeting of the UN Security Council because of the “outrageous  provocation committed by Ukrainian radicals” in the town of Bucha. The UK, which currently presides the UN Security Council, did not give consent to the meeting. 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on April 4 that Moscow would again ask to convene a meeting of the UN Security Council.

The Kremlin is demanding international leaders slow down with their sweeping accusations and request data from various sources. The Kremlin has not commented on how this situation may affect the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.

International response to Bucha massacre 

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that every person guilty of the killings of civilians in Bucha would be put in the special "book of executioners" to be subsequently found and punished. The mothers of the Russian military men should see "what bastards they have raised," Zelensky said. 

France will discuss the imposition of new sanctions against Russia with EU partners. Paris admits restrictions on the supplies of Russian oil and coal, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

German Chancellor Scholz also announced new sanctions against Russia in the coming days. The authorities of Ireland also called for new sanctions. The UK and the USA also discuss tougher restrictions.

In a joint statement, the European Union accused Russia of the killings and said that the perpetrators of war crimes, as well as those involved in government and military command, would be held accountable.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida condemned "actions to harm civilians" and did not rule out new sanctions.

Czech President Zeman called those responsible for the killings of civilians on the territory of Ukraine to an international tribunal. Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki called for a need to hold a EU summit to discuss Russia's actions. 

UN Secretary General Guterres called for an independent investigation into the crimes against civilians in Bucha.

Russia's reaction to Bucha massacre

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the photos and videos from Bucha were part of the provocation conducted by the Ukrainian authorities.

Alexander Bastrykin, the chief of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, instructed to analyze and give a procedural assessment to the provocation about the murder of civilians in Bucha.

In order to discredit the Russian military personnel, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense distributed video recordings filmed in the town of Bucha near Kiev as evidence of the massacre of civilians. According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, all the materials published by the Kiev regime about the crimes of the Russian military personnel in the indicated settlement are untrue and are provocative nature.

The day before, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the Russian military left Bucha completely on March 30. 

"The so-called evidence of crimes in Bucha appeared only on the fourth day (April 3rd), when Ukrainian SBU officers and representatives of Ukrainian television arrived in the city," representatives for the Russian Defense Ministry said.

It turned out that the wildly publicised video from the street in Bucha was posted on Twitter at least at 23:07 on April 1, Moscow time. Editing posts on Twitter is impossible, which excludes a possibility to post a new video to an old tweet (Twitter shows different post times depending on your time zone.). Earlier, it was believed that the first footage from Bucha appeared on April 2.

On March 31, Anatoly Fedoruk, the Mayor of Bucha, confirmed in his video address that there were no Russian military men left in the town. However, the mayor did not even mention any local residents who had been shot in the streets with their hands tied behind their backs.

All the "evidence of crimes" in Bucha appeared only when Ukraine's SBU officers and Ukrainian television reporters arrived on the scene.

All the bodies of the victims, whose images were published by the Kiev regime, did not stiffen as four days passed. The bodies do not have characteristic cadaveric spots, whereas unclotting blood can be seen in their wounds, representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry said.

The photos and videos from Bucha appeared as another provocation staged by the Ukrainian authorities, similarly to the one with the alleged shelling of the maternity hospital in Mariupol, officials added. 

The Ukrainian troops were shelling the southern outskirts of Bucha around the clock, including residential areas. However, during the time when Bucha was under the control of the Russian military, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions, the ministry also said. 

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