The Russian media writes that Ukraine is responsible for the hundreds of civilians found dead in Bucha, and in order to cover up these crimes, Kyiv has called on French gendarmes for help. In fact, French specialists only arrived in Ukraine to examine and collect evidence of the war crimes committed by Russia.
NEWS: “First deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Oleksiy Chepa, reacted to the arrival of French gendarmes on the territory of Ukraine. According to him, the French law-enforcement officers will help their Ukrainian counterparts conceal the traces of provocations organized in the Kyiv oblast.
“They can’t do it by themselves, which is why they are calling on their Western partners for help”, the Ukrainian deputy said. Previously, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Russian soldiers committed a series of illegal actions in Bucha, but not all EU member states believed it, requesting evidence Kyiv does not have, the National News Service reported.
NARRATIVES: 1. Ukraine killed its own citizens in Bucha, blaming Russia for it. 2. French specialists were invited to Ukraine to hide the evidence of crimes committed by Ukrainian authorities.
BACKGROUND: Ukraine accused the Russian army of having committed a massacre in Bucha, the evidence of which was revealed after the withdrawal of Russian military on March 30. The images broadcast by television stations and news websites showed streets in Bucha littered with the bodies of civilians who were summarily executed, hands tied behind their backs. After news of the massacre reached the international community, the government of France decided to dispatch a team of legal experts and law enforcement specialists to look into the killings and collect evidence attesting to Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. A team of gendarmes and magistrates was therefore sent to Bucha.
PURPOSE: To exonerate Russia and persuade the public back in Russia that Ukraine is the one that killed civilians, with the West’s support.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The crimes in Bucha were committed at a time when the town was under the occupation of Russian troops. Some evidence (satellite footage, drone recordings) clearly confirm this scenario, as do the countless testimonies published by the international media, human rights organizations and investigators in the early stages of official inquiries, which are still ongoing. Moreover, the alleged evidence presented by Russian propaganda regarding Ukraine’s involvement in war crimes has also been disproved. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, traveled to Bucha, where he condemned Russia’s atrocities: “These are war crimes and the whole world will recognize this genocide”.
Previously, Russia didn’t blame Kyiv for the crimes in Bucha, simply stating that the massacre had been fabricated by the media. Veridica has already debunked a number of false narratives regarding this topic, claiming the footage taken of the Kyiv oblast was doctored, whereas the news about the massacre of civilians is an element of “Ukrainian propaganda”. The war crimes committed by Russian troops were also published on the official Facebook page of the Bucha Town Hall on March 6. Therefore, Ukraine couldn’t have committed these crimes, considering its forces had already left the area. Kyiv had no interest in hiding the traces of these atrocities.
Kyiv has called on the International Criminal Court and on other international organizations to quickly dispatch teams of investigators to Bucha to collect evidence of the war crimes. In response, the government of France decided to send its own legal and law enforcement experts to contribute to this international investigation. According to the Twitter page of France’s Ambassador in Ukraine, Etienne de Poncins, French experts came to help their Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the war crimes committed in the Kyiv area.
The declarations of Oleksiy Chepa, who is first vice-chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, are therefore groundless. It wasn’t just France that sent experts to Ukraine, but also the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom. In addition, 42 countries have notified the International Court of Justice in the Hague to launch an inquiry into this matter, and Ukraine has expressed its readiness to provide support to any foreign team of forensic experts who will arrive in the Kyiv oblast.
Whereas Ukraine is calling on the international community for support and shows willingness to cooperate with foreign experts, Russia either denied the killing of civilians in Bucha, or blamed it on Ukraine. Both the declarations of Russian politicians, as well as the false narratives carried by the media show that the Kremlin is trying to discredit any collective international initiative to investigate the crimes committed in the Kyiv oblast.