“Anyone who makes knee jerk judgements from unverified videos sourced from a side known for wild propagandistic claims without waiting for verification of any kind should probably stop calling themselves journalists,” says the former UN inspector.
Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “war crimes” after claims of atrocities and mass graves near Kyiv were widely criticized by western nations, causing the EU to seek further penalties against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
As his country’s forces claimed further land near the capital, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky alleged Russian forces had committed atrocities in Bucha, a city about 25 kilometers north-west of Kyiv, and other places that had been under Russian possession until lately.
“The world has already seen many war crimes. At different times. On different continents. But it is time to do everything possible to make the war crimes of the Russian military the last manifestation of such evil on earth,” he said in a video message on Sunday, adding that the UN Security Council would consider actions at a meeting on Tuesday.
Ukraine’s prosecutor-general, Iryna Venedyktova, said 410 civilian dead have been retrieved from the Kyiv region.
Following the Russian retreat from Bucha, images of burnt bodies and claims of mass graves spurred the EU to prepare further sanctions against Russia, with European Council President Charles Michel declaring new measures were “on their way.”
The Ukrainian army announced it had reclaimed further land from Russian forces, including a town near Chernihiv, about 150 kilometers north of the city, and Pripyat, approximately 150 kilometers north of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
The military warned, however, that Russia will continue to target crucial infrastructure, particularly in the besieged port city of Mariupol and in Odesa, which was hit over the weekend. According to Oleksandr Senkevych, the mayor of Mykolayiv, Russian troops conducted numerous rocket attacks on the southern city early Monday.
The claims from Bucha and other regions near the capital were criticised by US officials and leaders from across the EU, with Richard Moore, the head of the UK intelligence organization MI6, saying, “We knew Putin’s invasion plans included summary executions by his military and intelligence services.”
Meanwhile, Scott Ritter – a former UN inspector said “at a time when Western public opinion is being shaped by an intense information warfare operation exclusively designed to paint Russia in a negative light, one would think objective observers would wait for the forensics before screaming ‘guilty’”
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter remarked on Twitter that the Ukrainian authorities must offer credible medical forensic data to back up their charges against Russia over events in Bucha.
“Anyone who makes knee jerk judgements from unverified videos sourced from a side known for wild propagandistic claims without waiting for verification of any kind should probably stop calling themselves journalists,” he made the remark in response to accusations in the US media that Russian troops had killed civilians.
“Basic medical forensics would answer three key questions: the time of death, the mechanism of death, and if the bodies had been moved. Let’s see if the Ukrainians provide verifiable medical forensic data to sustain their accusations,” Ritter added.
“The time of death. The mechanism of death. The location of death. Answer these three questions for each body. Then start pointing fingers. Until then, you’re literally spreading disinformation,” the former UN weapons inspector noted.
According to Ritter, “at a time when Western public opinion is being shaped by an intense information warfare operation exclusively designed to paint Russia in a negative light, one would think objective observers would wait for the forensics before screaming ‘guilty’.”
Since the start of Russia’s military attack in Ukraine on February 24, at least 1,417 civilians have been killed and another 2,038 have been injured, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“From 4 am on February 24, 2022, <…> to 24:00 midnight on April 2, 2022 (local time), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 3,455 civilian casualties in the country: 1,417 killed and 2,038 injured,” the statement reads.
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