President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was planning fresh attacks on civilians around Ukraine which would “mirror” the horrific scenes from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.
After Ukraine retook Bucha from Russia at the start of April, it said it discovered Russian troops had killed more than 300 civilians while occupying the area.
“More and more information is coming in that Russian propagandists are preparing, so to speak, a ‘mirror response’ to the shock of all normal people from what they saw in Bucha,” he said.
Zelenskyy said the city of Mariupol was one likely target. Russia has maintained a constant bombardment of the city for weeks, with Ukraine saying Thursday that it’s barely holding on to the city.
“They are going to show the victims in Mariupol as if they were killed not by the Russian military, but by the Ukrainian defenders of the city,” Zelenskyy said.
“To do this, the occupiers collect corpses on the streets, take them out, and can use them elsewhere in accordance with the elaborated propaganda scenarios.”
Zelenskyy also said the civilian death toll in Borodyanka, a town near Kyiv, was “much worse” than in Bucha, though he did not give specifics. On Thursday, he called the scene in the town “horrific.”
Many Western nations have condemned Russia over the scene in Bucha, and the UN voted to suspend Russia from the body’s Human Rights Council on Thursday.