Russia’s defense ministry said Sunday that its forces did not kill civilians in Bucha, a town outside Ukraine’s capital Kyiv that was recently retaken by Ukrainian soldiers from Moscow’s troops.
“During the time this settlement was under the control of Russian armed forces, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions,” the ministry said in a statement, saying Russia’s military delivered 452 tons of humanitarian aid to civilians there.
The ministry said all residents “had the opportunity to freely leave the settlement in the northern direction,” while the southern suburbs of the city “were fired at around the clock by Ukrainian troops.”
Photo and video of corpses strewn across the streets of Bucha were “another production of the Kyiv regime for the Western media,” it added.
The ministry said that all Russian units withdrew from Bucha on March 30, a day after Russia’s military announced it would be significantly reducing activity in northern Ukraine.
The statement came amid emerging evidence of the massacre of civilians as invading Russian troops retreated from Ukrainian areas they had been occupying.
Reporters saw dozens of bodies, all in civilian clothing, strewn along one street in the town of Bucha.
Residents of Bucha have given harrowing accounts of how Russian troops shot and killed civilians without any apparent reason.
At a logistics compound that residents said was used as a base by Russian forces, the bodies of eight men could be seen dumped on the ground, some with their hands tied behind their backs.
Residents said Russian troops would go from building to building, take people out of the basements where they were hiding from the fighting, check their phones for evidence of anti-Russian activity, and take them away or shoot them.
Ukrainian prosecutors investigating possible war crimes by Russia have found 410 bodies in towns near Kyiv, and 140 of them had been examined, Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova said on television on Sunday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a US television interview Sunday that Russian attacks in Ukraine amount to genocide.