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Russian ambassador to London describes Bucha events as provocation

At the same time, the diplomat pointed at the role of BBC in this saga, and its coordination with the government’s actions

LONDON, April 6. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Andrey Kelin told TASS the events in the Ukrainian city of Bucha were "a dangerous and serious provocation" aimed at weakening Moscow’s stance during negotiations with Kiev and consolidating the public opinion within NATO and the European Union.

"Lately, remarks were made in the United Kingdom at the highest level that Ukraine should approach the negotiations with Russia from ‘positions of strength.’ Therefore, Ukraine should somehow be led to this ‘position of strength.’ And as I am looking at the Bucha incident now, it is becoming apparent how this ‘position of strength’ is being created for Ukraine, through a very dangerous and serious provocation. This is how a consolidated public opinion is being formed around Ukraine, reinforcing it politically," the ambassador said.

"It is surprising how well-planned the provocation in Bucha was. It was carried out precisely on the eve of European meetings in the EU-NATO format, and of a G7 meeting to discuss tougher sanctions against Russia and arms deliveries to Ukraine. It appears that this issue is being brought into the spotlight to substantiate those discussions," Kelin said. "This is the United Kingdom’s ‘aid,’ which, at this stage, is derailing all negotiation efforts completely."

No fact checks

At the same time, the diplomat pointed at "the role of BBC in this saga, and its coordination with the government’s actions."

"It was no secret that first images were made by BBC journalists in Bucha on April 1, and published on the internet. Notably, just a few hours later, the UK Foreign Office issued its first statements, not [to inform the public] about the Bucha tragedy, but to blame the Russian authorities for everything <…>, with no fact checking carried out and no evidence published," Kelin said. "The baton was passed to the Downing Street almost immediately, with UK Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] issuing a similar statement," Kelin continued.

"I’m surprised by the speed <…> and the level of coordination, in the sense that a visit to Warsaw by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was planned beforehand. There she made statements to address this matter jointly with [Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry] Kuleba. The events will continue to unfold when Polish President Andrzej Duda arrives in London. This looks surprisingly coordinated and well-prepared," he said.

"However, BBC did everything on its own - it was the one to film the provocative footage and to do the fact checking of it. The results of this fact checking were published on Tuesday," the ambassador continued. "The document says that any other alternative [view of the events in Bucha] is simply impossible. However, it makes no mention of the March 31 speech of the mayor of Bucha, who said back then that everything was fine after the withdrawal of Russian troops. It also makes no mention of the popular video that shows Ukrainian forces entering Bucha. All of this was left aside during the fact checking."

Widespread practice

The ambassador drew parallels between present-day and past events, which were apparently arranged according to the same plan.

"I should say that I observed this trend in Europe in the past few years: exactly when an opportunity of negotiations with the European Union emerges, when there is a possibility of any improvement of [Russian] ties with Europe, provocations follow immediately, like the 2018 attempt by Ukrainian ships to cross into the Kerch Strait. And all efforts made by the sides are derailed immediately," the diplomat said.

"This is a popular, widespread line of conduct for UK diplomats: to rush out of the hall during multilateral meetings. This was the case in the OSCE and during other forums. There are two possible variants: either they label anything as Russian propaganda, saying that it simply makes no sense to listen to it, or they leave the hall immediately," he added. "This was the case earlier, when they travelled to Moscow and deliberately ignored what they were being told."

Commenting on the opposition Labor Party’s proposal to lower the status of diplomatic relations with Russia, the ambassador warned that the Russian side would give "an immediate and proportionate response."

The Bucha incident

The Russian defense ministry on April 3 dismissed the Kiev regime’s claims that the Russian forces had allegedly killed civilians in the community of Bucha in the Kiev region. The ministry recalled that Russian forces left Bucha on March 30 while faked evidence of the alleged killings was presented four days later, when Ukrainian security service SBU agents arrived in the locality. The Russian defense ministry also said that on March 31 Bucha’s Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk said in a video address that there were no Russian soldiers in the community. Nor did he mention any locals allegedly shot dead on the streets. Lavrov slammed the situation in Bucha as a "fake attack.".