All eyes are on the United Nations this week as western countries point the finger at Moscow over civilian killings outside Kiev, while Russia says it is prepared to reveal evidence that images of atrocities were a staged “provocation.”
Moscow insisted on holding a UN Security Council meeting on Monday to discuss allegations of war crimes in Bucha, outside Kiev, after a Russian request to hold an emergency meeting did not materialize. Later reports said the UK would call for a meeting to be held on Tuesday.
"It is hard to imagine and realize, but the British presidency of the Security Council, which has just begun, is trying to deny us our right to request a separate Security Council meeting on the terrible Ukrainian provocation in Bucha,” a Russian official said on Monday.
It later emerged that US President Joe Biden had instructed his UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to seek suspension of Russia’s membership with the UN Human Rights Council.
A two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member UN General Assembly in New York can suspend a state for persistently committing gross and systematic violations of human rights
A two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member UN General Assembly in New York can suspend a state for persistently committing gross and systematic violations of human rights.
Thomas-Greenfield told NPR that Washington was planning to hold on Thursday a session on the issue, prompting strong reaction from Russia’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya who described the attempt as “unbelievable.”
"This is unprecedented. And this will not facilitate or encourage or be helpful to what is happening between Russian and Ukrainian peace talks,” Nebenzya said.
Washington and other European capitals pledged on Monday to punish Moscow over civilian killings in Bucha, where a mass grave and tied bodies of people shot at close range were found.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has explicitly accused Russia of genocide following video footage from Bucha that showed bodies in the streets.
US President Joe Biden also weighed in, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “brutal” and calling for a war crimes trial against him.
But Moscow has denied the allegations saying the attempt to point finger at Russia was “another staged provocation aimed at discrediting and dehumanizing of the Russian military and leveling political pressure on Russia.”
Nebenzya further argued that the Russian military had nothing to do with "cruel atrocities against civil population."
"It is not the case, it has never been the case and it was never the case," he said according to the Russian News Agency.
Brussels team up with Ukrainian prosecutors, Europol, Eurojust
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said the EU planned to send investigators to Bucha who would team up with Ukrainian prosecutors, Europol, and Eurojust.
Ukraine’s president on Tuesday said he was interested in an all-embracing and transparent investigation into the recent events in Bucha, near the country's capital of Kiev.
"We have provided the maximum access to journalists to Bucha and other liberated cities of Ukraine, to hundreds of journalists from around the globe," Zelensky said.
But Nebenzya said Moscow would insist on a Security Council meeting, further stating his country would reveal evidence to prove the international community was being misled by a “false narrative.”
"We have factual evidence that proves this point. We intend to present it to the Security Council as soon as possible so that the international community is not mislead by the false narrative promoted by Kiev and its Western sponsors," Nebenzya said.