Russia: West is working on disrupting peace talks with Ukraine
Moscow has noted that the provocation that took place in Bucha occurred as Kiev was possibly agreeing to peace terms.
According to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russia is warning that the West is using 'hysteria' over claims of mass executions in the Ukrainian town of Bucha to disrupt peace negotiations between Moscow and Kiev.
The alleged actions in town, which he described as a "provocation," were introduced just as progress was being made during the peace talks in Istanbul, he continued.
“We tend to think that the reason lies in the desire to find a reason to disrupt the ongoing negotiations. And to do it exactly at the moment when, as they say, the light, even if not very bright, but nevertheless, began to dawn."
Lavrov added that "On March 29, for the first time in the entire period of contacts between our delegations, the Ukrainian side proposed a written vision of how the treaty could look in terms of the status of Ukraine and security guarantees."
Read more: West to try dissolving Bucha truth in demagogic reasoning: Lavrov
Russia's Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, had said that with regards to the shelling of Bucha, Ukraine's authorities are shifting the blame, as the civilian casualties may have occurred as a result of an attack by Ukrainian forces.
The US is being deliberately silent on the fact that the shelling of the city happened at the hands of Ukrainian forces after the pullout of Russia's forces from the city, he added.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the photo and video footage disseminated by Ukraine depicting dead civilians on the streets of Bucha could not be trusted, adding that the information on the matter should be seriously questioned.
According to Lavrov, during talks with Russia, Kiev "for the first time put on paper" its willingness to proclaim itself neutral, unaligned with any group, and non-nuclear. Additionally, Ukrainians had established a refusal to put foreign-state weaponry on their territory or to conduct exercises there with the involvement of a foreign military without the permission of all future treaty guarantor nations, including Russia.
The minister added that the agreement's security assurances would have effectively ruled out NATO's eastward expansion and secured "indivisible security on the European continent." Furthermore, the Ukrainian side indicated in the draft of the key clauses that security assurances would not apply to Crimea and the Donbass, which Lavrov described as "progress."
“Once again we want to urge those who are leading the actions of Kiev, and we know who they are, to still realize their responsibility for security in Europe ... Russia is ready for this conversation but, in order for us to have real progress and not the appearance of progress, we insist that an unambiguous signal be sent to Kiev not to engage in sabotage, otherwise we risk repeating the fate of the Minsk agreements and we will never agree to this," he said.
Ukraine has suggested that it is still interested in resolving its disagreements with Russia diplomatically. A peace treaty between Kiev and Moscow, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, is achievable. “Yes, because Ukraine must find peace. We are in Europe of the 21st century. We will continue our diplomatic and military efforts,” he stated on Monday during a visit to Bucha.