Vladimir Putin calls Bucha crimes 'fake', says talks with Ukraine hit 'dead end'
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the military operation in Ukraine had to be started to protect Russia, adding that they could “no longer tolerate genocide in Donbas”.
Even as Ukraine and the West continue to target Russia over war crimes in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the situation in the region is “fake”. Putin's comments came after he compared the allegations to those concerning the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
“It's the same kind of fake in Bucha,” Putin was quoted as saying during a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Russia's space port Vostochny cosmodrome - located in far east of the country.
Putin further stated that peace talks with Ukraine have hit a “dead end”, while vowing that the “military operation” in the east-European nation will continue. He, however, said what is happening in Ukraine due to the conflict is a “tragedy”.
Earlier in the day, Putin reiterated that the military operation in Ukraine had to be started to protect Russia, adding that they could “no longer tolerate genocide in Donbas”. He further stated that Russian forces would undoubtedly achieve its “noble” objectives in Ukraine.
The Russian president's statement is in sync with the country's defence ministry, which soon after the Bucha killings were discovered, rubbished the allegations that its retreating troops have committed war crimes in the Ukrainian town after the bodies of at least 20 people in civilian robes were found. The ministry described footage and photographs of dead bodies as a “provocation” and a “staged performance” by Kyiv.
The West, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (EU) along with Japan have imposed several additional sanctions against Russia following the Bucha crimes. These include a ban on Russian coal imports, measures against Putin's two adult daughters, and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov's wife and daughter, among others.
At the press conference with Lukashenko, Putin also said that Ukraine has deviated from agreements that were achieved during the face-to-face talks between Moscow and Kyiv negotiators in Istanbul, Turkey on March 29. His statements echoed Lavrov, who too made a similar claim recently, saying that the departure from earlier demands put forth by Kyiv shows their lack of interest in ending the fighting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, has called for more sanctions against Russia, especially on oil and gas. The West recently said that Russia has shifted most of its forces to the eastern side of Ukraine and Belarus as they warn Putin's forces are preparing for a renewed offensive in the east.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who became the first European leader, to meet Putin in Moscow on Monday, said that he is not “optimistic about the war in Ukraine”. Talking to reporters at a press conference after the meeting, Nehammer added that Russia is “evidently” prepping up for a “massive scale” offensive in east Ukraine.
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