China calls for investigation into Bucha killings, assigns no blame

BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday announced footage of civilian deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha. are “deeply disturbing” but that no blame should be assigned until all the facts are known.

New evidence of what appeared to be widespread civilian massacres following Russian withdrawals from areas of kyiv could complicate Beijing’s attempts to guide public opinion on the conflict, in which China has refused to criticize Moscow.

China supports all initiatives and measures “contributing to alleviating the humanitarian crisis” in the country and is “ready to continue working with the international community to avoid any harm to civilians”, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. Zhao Lijian to reporters at a daily press briefing. .

“The truth and cause of the incident should be verified,” Zhao said. “All parties should exercise restraint and avoid unfounded accusations before a conclusion of the investigation is reached.”

Zhao’s remarks echo those of China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, who previously called for an investigation, also describing the reports and images of civilian deaths in Bucha as “deeply disturbing”.

“The relevant circumstances and the specific causes of the incident must be verified and established,” Zhang said in remarks to the Security Council on Tuesday, adding that “before the full picture is clear, all parties must demonstrate restraint and avoid baseless accusations”.

China has called for talks while refusing to criticize Russia. He opposes economic sanctions against Moscow and accuses Washington and NATO of provoking the war and fueling the conflict by sending weapons to Ukraine.

Media fully controlled by the ruling Communist Party has largely stuck to a pro-Moscow narrativeincluding the repetition of Russian disinformation and unfounded conspiracy theories on issues such as alleged U.S.-Ukrainian biological weapons production.

Zhao repeated China’s objections to the sanctions, while accusing the United States of manipulating the situation to “take advantage of the chaos and make a lot of money”.

“History and reality have proven that sanctions do not bring peace and security, but only bring multiple or multiple losses, adding to the already difficult global economy and impacting the global economic system. existing,” Zhao said.

The hashtag “China expresses that the incident of Bucha’s death should be thoroughly investigated” was a trending topic on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, with nearly 30 million views and more than 500 discussions on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the pro-Russian stance of the authorities who regularly censor publications, opinions were divided between support for Moscow, demands for accountability from Russia, accusations of lack of trust in the West and Ukraine and calls for an impartial investigation.

“This is just a play put on by the Americans and the Ukrainian Nazis in an attempt to divert public opinion, but people of the world with eyes and hearts will not ignore the facts of research by the United States and Ukraine on biological weapons,” one post read. signed “Understands the Cold War better than America”.

The Russian Embassy in Beijing also used the platform to dismiss the charges, while its Ukrainian counterpart drew attention to ‘Russian war crimes against civilians in Irpin’, another town where atrocities are said to have taken place. .

Prior to the Feb. 24 war, China had dismissed talk of a Russian invasion as “fake news” and American alarmists. Since then, he has claimed to stick to an independent and often contradictory position, affirming the sanctity of borders and national sovereignty while refusing to condemn Russian aggression or even use the words “war” and ” invasion,” in apparent deference to Moscow.

The Global Times, a nationalist tabloid published by the People’s Daily, mouthpiece of the Communist Party, sought to balance competing messages with an editorial on Wednesday titled “‘Bucha incident’ not to be used as an excuse to inflame the situation.” .

“Until Russia and Ukraine reach a ceasefire, the humanitarian tragedies will not end,” the newspaper said.

“However, it is regrettable that after the revelation of the ‘Bucha incident’, the United States, the origin of the Ukraine crisis, showed no signs of calling for peace and promoting the talks, but be prepared to heighten Russian-Ukrainian tensions and create obstacles to peace talks between the two sides,” he said.

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