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29 Nov, 2023 16:10

Zelensky ally’s revelations betray motive to stage Bucha – Moscow

Ukraine accused Russian forces of killing civilians in a suburb of Kiev to derail a peace deal, Maria Zakharova says
Zelensky ally’s revelations betray motive to stage Bucha – Moscow

Recent statements by a top Ukrainian MP show that the so-called Bucha ‘massacre’ was staged by Kiev to disrupt the peace process with Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

The two countries could have struck an agreement in March 2022 but Kiev backed out of the talks following an intervention from London, Ukrainian MP David Arakhamia claimed last week.

The apparent ‘massacre’ in Bucha made international headlines in April 2022 when Ukrainian forces supposedly found the bodies of hundreds of civilians in a suburb of Kiev that had been under the control of Russian troops, who had left the area days before as part of a “goodwill gesture” as talks continued between the two countries in Istanbul.

Kiev immediately blamed the deaths on Moscow and subsequently used the incident as one of the main reasons for its withdrawal from peace talks. Russia has repeatedly said the so-called massacre was a false-flag operation intended to tarnish its image.

“These revelations [made] by Arakhamia provide strong evidence for the fact that a provocation in Bucha was staged by Kiev as a pretext for derailing the negotiation process,” Zakharova told journalists at a regular Foreign Ministry briefing.

Arakhamia, who leads President Vladimir Zelensky’s 'Servant of the People' party in parliament, did not mention the Bucha incident directly. He told TV channel 1+1 that Moscow had essentially offered Ukraine peace in exchange for neutrality and an undertaking not to join NATO.

The Ukrainian MP, who led the Ukrainian delegation at the Istanbul talks, added that Kiev did not trust Moscow.

He noted that then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who visited Kiev in early April, told Ukrainian officials not to “sign anything” with the Russians and “just continue fighting” instead.

“It only proves once again that Zelensky’s regime is a puppet one and is totally dependent on its Anglo-Saxon puppet masters,” Zakharova said on Wednesday, referring to Washington and London.

The first reports from Bucha appeared in the Ukrainian and Western media on April 1, 2022. Zelensky visited the area a few days after those reports. At that time, he described any future talks with Russia as a “challenge,” adding that Russia’s alleged crimes “could not be forgiven.”

He still maintained that Kiev should continue to “seek opportunities” to talk with Moscow with a view to achieving peace.

On April 9, Johnson visited Kiev for the first time since the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, which had been held regularly in March, never resumed after that date.