Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has described the atrocities in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where Russian forces are accused of killing hundreds of civilians, as a “British special operation”, without citing supporting evidence.
Speaking at a televised press conference after talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Mr Lukashenko suggested that Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, could provide proof of the allegation.
“It’s like in Bucha,” said the Belarusian dictator. “Here we were discussing politics. Everyone is shouting, ‘Well, we should have introduced another package. Today we discussed in detail their “special psychological operation” which was carried out by the British.
“If you need addresses, passwords, car numbers, car brands, on which they got to Bucha and how they did it, the FSB of the Russian Federation can provide this information . If not, we can help.
The Kremlin and its allies have in recent days sought to portray Bucha’s atrocities as a “staged” incident, but have so far not directly blamed the UK or other Western countries.
Mr Lukashenko was echoing remarks by Mr Putin at the same press conference, who again claimed without proof that the pictures and images of corpses strewn across Bucha were “fake”.
Comparing allegations that Moscow troops executed civilians to Western outcry over the use of chemical weapons in the war in Syria which the Kremlin said was aimed at discrediting Bashar al-Assad, Mr Putin said: ” It’s the same kind of fake in Bucha.”
Ukraine accused the Russian army of executing residents of Bucha, a town that Russian troops had occupied for several weeks before withdrawing. Western countries have called for those responsible for killing civilians to be punished.
In 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that a reported chemical attack in Syria, where Russian forces were operating in support of the country’s president, was staged by foreign agents.
The Russian Ministry of Defense specifically accused the UK of helping to organize the attack, which the UK’s UN envoy at the time called a ‘grotesque and blatant lie’ .
Moscow insists Bucha’s claims are a “monstrous forgery” aimed at denigrating the Russian military.
On Tuesday, the mayor of Bucha said 403 bodies killed by Russian forces had so far been found.
Russian soldiers withdrew late last month, but Anatoliy Fedoruk said it was still too early for residents to return.