‘Cynical false flag operation by Kyiv’: Russia on Bucha killings, India calls for probe

Updated on Apr 07, 2022 09:42 PM IST

Ukrainian officials have said more than 300 people were killed by Russian forces in Bucha, and around 50 of them were executed. Images have emerged in recent days of mass graves and dozens of bodies with their hands tied behind their back.

Ukrainian soldiers walk past a destroyed Russian tank amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha in Kyiv region in Ukraine. (REUTERS PHOTO.)
Ukrainian soldiers walk past a destroyed Russian tank amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha in Kyiv region in Ukraine. (REUTERS PHOTO.)

Russia on Thursday contended the massacre in the Ukrainian town of Bucha was a “cynical false flag operation” by Kyiv even as India again condemned the civilian killings and backed calls for an independent investigation into the incident.

A statement issued by the Russian embassy in New Delhi on the “massacre in Bucha” said the “heinous attack” brought back nightmares about Nazi crimes during World War 2 and “raised revulsion and condemnation in Russia and India and globally”.

However, the statement contended there were “widespread hollow allegations against Moscow while there’s evidence that it was in fact a cynical false flag operation, perpetrated by Kiev itself”. The statement didn’t provide details of this evidence.

“Russia firmly stands for bringing to justice those involved in this outrageous war crime act. The main challenge is to ensure a genuinely independent and unbiased investigation,” the statement said, adding evidence about the killings being an alleged false flag operation should be taken into account.

The Russian embassy issued the statement after India’s envoy to the United Nations condemned the civilian killings in Bucha at a special session of the Security Council on Tuesday and external affairs minister S Jaishankar said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday that India was “deeply disturbed” by the killings and wanted an independent probe into the matter. The Indian side, however, didn’t directly name Russia in these statements.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a weekly news briefing that the reports of civilian killings in Bucha town “are deeply disturbing and we unequivocally condemn these killings”. India supports calls for an independent investigation into the issue, he said in response to questions on the killings.

Asked how the independence of such an investigation can be ensured, Bagchi said: “We are not in a position to insist on how, nor are we in a position to conduct it. But an independent investigation would help determine further facts about it, and I think there is clearly an outrage and unhappiness about these developments which have been reflected in our statement.”

Ukrainian officials have said more than 300 people were killed by Russian forces in Bucha, and around 50 of them were executed. Images have emerged in recent days of mass graves and dozens of bodies with their hands tied behind their back. Analysis of satellite images has shown the bodies were lying in streets nearly two weeks before Russian troops left the town.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday that Germany’s intelligence agency intercepted radio messages from Russian military sources discussing the killing of civilians in Bucha.

India continues to press forcefully for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to violence in Ukraine, Bagchi said. “We encourage talks between Ukraine and Russia, including at the level of the presidents directly,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised this when he personally spoke to the two presidents.

“This was also precisely the message conveyed to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov when he was here a few days ago. If India can be of any assistance in this matter, we will be glad to contribute,” he said.

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