Wednesday April 17, 2024

US to seek Moscow’s suspension from UNHRC; Kyiv accuses Russia of ‘inhumane’ treatment of captured soldiers; Russia rejects accusations of Bucha killings

April 05, 2022

Moscow: The Kremlin on Monday rejected accusations that Russian forces were responsible for killing civilians near Kyiv and suggested images of corpses were "fakes".

"We categorically reject all allegations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. Peskov said that Russian "experts at the ministry of defence have identified signs of video fakes and various fakes".

"We would demand that many international leaders do not rush to sweeping accusations and at least listen to our arguments," he said. International journalists over the weekend found corpses in civilian clothes, some with their hands bound, in the town of Bucha outside Ukraine’s capital after Kyiv’s forces retook it from Russia’s army.

Ukraine and Western leaders have erupted in outrage over the deaths in Bucha, a small town northwest of Kyiv. Russia’s foreign ministry has called for a special UN Security Council meeting Monday to address what it said was a "heinous provocation" to blame Russian forces.

Russian investigators also announced a probe into the images, saying that according to Moscow’s military they "do not correspond to reality and are provocative in nature".Meanwhile, the United States plans to seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council following apparent evidence of mass executions by Russian troops in Bucha, Ukraine, US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday.

"The images out of Bucha and devastation across Ukraine require us to now match our words with action," Greenfield said in a tweet. "We cannot let a member state that is subverting every principle we hold dear to continue to participate" in the council, she said. "Russia should not have a position of authority in that body, nor should we allow Russia to use its seat on the Council as a tool of propaganda to suggest they have a legitimate concern about human rights."

In a related development, France on Monday said it would expel 35 Russian diplomats as part of a joint European action after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. "France decided this evening to expel a number of Russian personnel with diplomatic status stationed in France whose activities are against our security interests," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

A ministry source, who asked not to be named, said 35 Russian diplomats would be expelled. "This action is part of a European approach," the foreign ministry statement added. "Our first responsibility is always to ensure the safety of French people and Europeans," it said.

Germany on Monday expelled a "significant number" of Russian diplomats in what Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called a response to the "unbelievable brutality" the Kremlin had unleashed in Ukraine.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday called on the West to unite to prevent a "genocide" by Russia in Europe, saying the continent’s security depended on the outcome of Moscow’s aggression against his country.

"Together we can stop those who want genocide in Europe," Zelensky said in a speech to the Romanian parliament, after showing images of bodies in civilian clothes littering the streets of Bucha.

The Ukrainian leader visited the town recently retaken by Ukrainian troops, where he denounced the Russian army’s actions as "war crimes" which would be "recognised as genocide."

The West has called for an investigation into"war crimes" blamed on Russian soldiers in the region, which Moscow denies. "Ukraine is not the last target of Russian aggression," he said. Moscow "wants to occupy Odessa and then there is only one step to Moldova," he told Romanian lawmakers, calling on the country to "defend its independence and sovereignty."