Kremlin dismisses mass burial discoveries in Ukraine as 'lies'

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would 'stand up for the truth in this story'



Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

By AFP

Published: Tue 20 Sep 2022, 3:43 PM

On Monday, the Kremlin denied its forces were responsible for large-scale killings in east Ukraine and accused Kyiv of fabricating its discoveries of mass graves in recaptured territory.

In the latest incident spurring fears of an atomic emergency, Ukraine said Russian rockets landed dangerously close to a nuclear power station in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine recaptured Izyum and other towns in the east this month, crippling Kremlin supply routes and bringing fresh claims of Russian atrocities with the discovery of hundreds of graves — some containing multiple bodies.

"These are lies," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. Moscow, he said, "will stand up for the truth in this story".

Fighting in the northeast rages on. The streets were strewn with broken glass, spent cartridge casings, and the discarded remains of ration packs issued by both forces.

Most of the fire was outgoing, with Ukrainian tanks and artillery targeting Russian positions on the west side of the town, over a mess of broken bridges. A column of smoke rose in the distance.

At the entrance to the town, cowering from the sounds of Ukrainian tank shells passing overhead towards Russian lines, civilians gathered to hitch rides or join buses to head out into safer Ukrainian territory.

"It was impossible to stay where we were living," said 56-year-old Lyudmyla, who braved the constant crack of shells to cross the Oskil river from the disputed east bank to the relative safety of the west.

"There was incoming fire not just every day, but literally every hour. It's very tough there, on the other bank of the river."

Russian-backed authorities in east Ukraine said a "punitive" strike by Kyiv's forces had killed more than a dozen people and wounded more, in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

The rebel head of the region claimed that the strike was "deliberate" and said it would "not go unpunished".

A court in the neighbouring rebel-held region of Lugansk meanwhile sentenced two employees of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to 13 years on treason charges.

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Ukraine will be "very high on the agenda" when world leaders formally begin meeting in New York on Tuesday for the United Nations General Assembly, said the European Union's foreign policy chief.

"There are many other problems, we know, but the war in Ukraine has been sending shockwaves around the world," Josep Borrell said, after meeting EU foreign ministers on the eve of the UN gathering, which Zelensky is to address by video.


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