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Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzya on Monday rejected allegations that Russian forces had committed atrocities in Ukraine and bashed western Security Council members for blocking Moscow’s request for emergency talks on the crisis.
Mr Nebenzya said Ukraine had spread “fake news” about civilian killings in north Ukraine, where a mass grave and tied bodies shot at close range were discovered in Bucha, near Kyiv, which was recaptured from Russian forces over the weekend.
“It has been clear that this is nothing else but yet another staged provocation aimed at discrediting and dehumanising the Russian military and levelling political pressure on Russia,” Mr Nebenzya told reporters in New York.
He also called it “unbelievable, unthinkable and unprecedented” that Britain, which holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency for the month of April, had rejected Moscow’s request for a meeting of the 15-nation body on Monday.
Earlier, British ambassador Barbara Woodward said council members would debate the crisis in Ukraine on Tuesday. This would allow time to prepare for a “well-informed meeting” with inputs from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and others, she added.
Britain and the US on Monday ratcheted up pressure on Russia for allegedly committing atrocities during its invasion of Ukraine, pushing for Moscow’s removal from the UN’s top human rights body.
The US is seeking a vote on Russia’s suspension from the Human Rights Council at the 193-nation UN General Assembly this week, where a two-thirds majority is needed to suspend a country.