Russia MoD denies Kiev allegation of civilian killings in Bucha
The Russian Ministry of Defense says that the footage documenting war crimes in Bucha was a provocation by the Ukrainian armed forces for the western media, and this is not the first time.
Ukraine published footage it claimed shows evidence of crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Bucha, a town in Kiev, and the Russian Ministry of Defense said they were yet another provocation.
"All photos and video materials published by the Kiev regime allegedly testifying to some ‘crimes’ committed by Russian soldiers in the town of Bucha, Kiev region, is another provocation," Moscow's Defense Ministry said.
"Not a single local resident has suffered from any violent actions while the Russian armed forces controlled the settlement," it added.
The ministry also clarified that all Russian units completely withdrew from the town in which the crimes allegedly took place as early as March 30, a day ahead of the talks between Moscow and Kiev in Turkey.
Russia also recalled the Mariupol maternity hospital incident, among others, saying the photos and video footage from Bucha were a production by Ukraine for the Western media.
Throughout the time the Russian armed forces had control of the town, its residents, Moscow said, could freely move around and use means of communication, and its exits were not blocked. "Residents could flee the settlement in the northern direction, including to Belarus, at any time," the ministry explained.
The southern outskirts of the town, including residential areas, however, were shelled "round the clock" by the Ukrainian armed forces using large-caliber artillery, tanks, and multiple rocket launchers.
This would not be the first violation committed by the Ukrainian side in Mariupol, as the Azov battalion, a notorious far-right neo-Nazi group, opened fire on civilians during their evacuation from the city, killing at least two people and injuring four others.
Kiev had previously claimed that hospitals in this city had been the target of Russian attacks, but the allegations were proven false.
Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy revealed that the allegations were false, and he reminded the United Nations that Moscow had warned that the hospital the allegations were surrounding had become a military site at the hands of radicals.
The Russian Investigative Committee had opened Saturday a criminal case against Ukrainian militants and mercenaries over their holding of hostages in a maternity hospital in Mariupol.
According to the committee, unidentified Ukrainian militants fired Friday at the building of the Mariupol maternity hospital.
After opening fire, the militants seized the building, deployed heavy weaponry, and captured at least 100 civilians, including pregnant women and about 40 children. They proceeded to use them as hostages and human shields.
Russia had launched a special military operation in Ukraine due to NATO's eastward expansion, the Ukrainian shelling of Donbass, and the killing of the people of the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic, in addition to Moscow wanting to "denazify" and demilitarize Ukraine.