China calls for probe into ‘disturbing’ Bucha killings, assigns no blame
Images and testimonials of what appear to be widespread civilian massacres allegedly carried out by invading Russian forces in Ukraine is likely to complicate Beijing’s position on Moscow’s attack
China on Wednesday said the images of civilian deaths in Ukraine’s Bucha in capital Kyiv’s suburb were “deeply disturbing” but added that blame should not be apportioned before the “truth” is verified.
“The reports and images about the deaths of civilians in Bucha are deeply disturbing, but we must ascertain the truth,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said at the regular press conference on Wednesday.
“The truth and specific causes of the incident should be verified. Any accusations should be based on facts. Before the full picture is clear, all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations,” Zhao said.
Images and testimonials of what appeared to be widespread civilian massacres allegedly carried out by invading Russian forces in Ukraine is likely to complicate Beijing’s position on Moscow’s attack, whic China has refused to call it an invasion.
China supports all initiatives and measures “conducive to alleviating the humanitarian crisis” in Ukraine, and is “ready to continue to work together with the international community to prevent any harm to civilians”, Zhao said.
Zhao’s comments appeared to reinforce the stance presented by Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council’s briefing on Ukraine.
“Attacks against civilians are unacceptable and should not occur,” he said, noting that “the reports and images of civilian deaths in Bucha are deeply disturbing.”
“Civilians should be spared of any forms of violence in armed conflicts,” Zhang said.
“The relevant circumstances and specific causes of the incident should be verified and established,” Zhang said in his remarks adding that, “before the full picture is clear, all sides should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations”.
China has refused to criticise Russia for its actions while calling for talks between Moscow and Kyiv to resolve the situation.
It has instead blamed Washington and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) for provoking the war and subsequently fuelling the conflict by sending arms to Ukraine. It has also strongly and consistently expressed its opposition to the economic sanctions on Moscow.