France summons Russian envoy over ‘obscene’ Bucha tweet
The French government on Thursday summoned Russia’s ambassador to Paris for talks after his embassy posted a photo on Twitter claiming to show a “film set” by Ukrainians staging civilian killings in Bucha that have stoked global outrage.
“In response to the obscene and provocative communications by the Russian embassy in France with regards to the Bucha atrocities, I have decided to summon the Russian ambassador,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian tweeted.
The tweet, which was later deleted, appeared to show bodies being placed in a street, and was captioned “Film set, town of Bucha.”
France‘s Europe Minister Clement Beaune had already tweeted late Wednesday that the embassy’s claim was “beyond shame: Stop.”
Ukrainian officials say scores of civilian bodies, some with hands bound behind their backs, were discovered in Bucha and other cities near Kyiv last weekend after Russian forces abandoned their offensive against the capital.
The harrowing images that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called “war crimes” drew widespread condemnation from Ukraine’s allies, despite Kremlin claims that the deaths were either faked or carried out by Ukrainian troops.
US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the Justice Department’s chief war crimes prosecutor was meeting his French counterpart to assist in a potential war crimes trial “to identify and hold accountable those responsible for atrocities in Ukraine.”
France had already summoned the Russian envoy, Alexey Meshkov, on March 25 to protest “unacceptable” tweets issued by the embassy showing crude cartoons depicting Europe and the United States.
In one tweet, labelled “European solidarity in action”, a row of kneeling people identified as EU member states can be seen licking the bare buttocks of a sinister-looking Uncle Sam character.
In another, two doctors in white coats and hats bearing American and EU insignia can be seen injecting a zombified “Europe” figure with syringes marked “Russophobia”, “Neo-Nazism”, “Sanctions” as well as “Cancel Culture” and “Covid”.