Western nations, led by the U.S., announced today even more economic restrictions and sanctions against leading Russian officials and their families as well as Russian banks and state-owned corporations in the wake of alleged atrocities committed in Ukraine by Russian forces, particularly in Bucha, a town on the northwest outskirts of Kiev where Ukraine and Western nations have insisted Russia committed numerous murders and war crimes prior to its withdraw from the area last week.
Russia has denied the allegations, describing them as yet another provocation by the Zelensky regime designed to spark outrage in the West, generate sympathy for Ukraine and possibly justify a NATO intervention.
President Biden said “Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities in Bucha” when announcing the “new round of devastating sanctions,” coordinated with the European Union (EU) and the G7.
I made clear that Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities in Bucha. Today, along with our Allies and partners, we’re announcing a new round of devastating sanctions. https://t.co/LVqTDIOSvz
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 6, 2022
In a move that will clearly escalate tensions between Russia and the West, the White House released a statement announcing “devastating economic measures to ban new investment in Russia, and impose the most severe financial sanctions on Russia’s largest bank and several of its most critical state-owned enterprises and on Russian government officials and their family members.”
“These sweeping financial sanctions follow our action earlier this week to cut off Russia’s frozen funds in the United States to make debt payments,” the statement continued. “Importantly, these measures are designed to reinforce each other to generate intensifying impact over time.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the sanctions as designed to “impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia.”
Prior to the latest sanctions being imposed on Russia, numerous Western nations had expelled Russian diplomats and efforts are currently underway to suspend Russia from the UN’s Human Rights Council. Nations such as France and Germany have announced investigations into potential war crimes committed in Ukraine by Russia while international organizations, including the International Criminal Court in The Hague, have also announced war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations.
The latest allegations against Russian forces, which have been mindlessly amplified by Western media outlets and politicians without the slightest bit of scrutiny or independent verification, center around the town of Bucha, a small city of roughly 35,000 people just outside Kiev. Russian forces had occupied the area since the first days of the invasion in late February, but evacuated last week.
Speaking to the UN Security Council yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded Russia be held accountable by the international community after committing “the most terrible war crimes” since WWII. Zelensky displayed a short video produced by the Ukrainian government depicting alleged Russian war crimes committed against civilians in numerous Ukrainian cities, including Bucha. The imagery and allegations put forth by the Ukrainian government have not been independently verified and confirmed.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia insisted to the UN Security Council that Russia has not targeted civilians and that “not a single civilian suffered from any kind of violence” while Russian troops were in Bucha.
“We are not shooting against the civilian targets in order to save as many as civilians possible,” Nebenzia declared. “This is precisely why we’re not advancing as fast as many expected.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was even more forceful, insisting that while Russia had repeatedly explained its position regarding the situation in Bucha, denying the allegations put forth by the Zelensky regime, the West “shut its eyes and ears with blinds” and refused to listen.
“We continue to insist that all accusations against Russia, against Russian military are not merely groundless, but a well-directed show, nothing else but a tragic show,” Peskov stated.
The Russian Ministry of Defense insisted that Russian forces left Bucha on March 30 as part of a planned withdraw of forces from areas near Kiev. The withdraw was a key component of a negotiated deal between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators engaged in peace talks in Istanbul, Turkey, a move designed to generate trust and demonstrate a sign of good faith as the negotiations continued.
The following day, Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk declared that his city was liberated and praised Ukrainian fighters for their heroic efforts defending the city. Mr. Fedoruk made no mention of Russian atrocities or war crimes during his speech.
On April 2, two days after Mr. Fedoruk’s speech declaring that the city was liberated, Ukrainian national police were deployed to Bucha to “clear the territory of saboteurs and Russian troop collaborators” and to “inspect the sites of war crimes committed by Russia,” according to reporting from RT.
Images and videos quickly began spreading on social media depicting dead bodies in civilian clothing strewn about the city, some with their hands tied behind their back, as well as other scenes of destruction. The following day, April 3, the Prosecutor General’s office reported 410 civilian bodies were discovered in the city. Western media outlets and politicians immediately denounced Russia, blindly accepting the claims of the Ukrainian government without question.
A timeline of events leading up to the atrocity claims by the Zelensky regime casts doubt on the legitimacy of its allegations against Russia.
Ru troops leave Bucha
Mayor of Bucha announces town 'liberated', makes no mention of atrocities.https://t.co/WLAfjJOfZt
Azov Nazis enter Buchahttps://t.co/WkSTMUJy4O
Ukr MinDef publishes video of 'Russian' atrocitieshttps://t.co/HDUUYI7zex pic.twitter.com/PQUgD9izpz
— Moon of Alabama (@MoonofA) April 3, 2022
“The only evidence offered so far pointing to Russian responsibility is the claims of Ukrainian authorities, [which] are being breathlessly amplified by the mainstream media without an ounce of skepticism,” Paul Joseph Watson noted in a recent report.
Margaret Brennan of CBS admits that Zelensky's "team" handed her some photos/videos, and she's now going to broadcast them on TV with zero independent corroboration. Just openly purveying a foreign country's war propaganda. This is what's considered Real Journalism™ in the US pic.twitter.com/PCXZ11w2kR
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 3, 2022
“Stories about Bucha appeared in several foreign media outlets at once, which looks like a planned media campaign,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated following the allegations. “Taking into account that the troops left the city on March 30, where was the footage for four days?”
A recent report by Reuters quoting alleged residents of Bucha describing purported Russian atrocities notes that none of the details have been independently verified. The Pentagon has also admitted that it cannot verify the claims about Bucha.
“We’re seeing the same imagery that you are. We have no reason whatsoever to refute the Ukrainian claims about these atrocities – clearly, deeply, deeply troubling,” a Pentagon official stated earlier this week. “The Pentagon can’t independently and single handedly confirm that, but we’re also not in any position to refute those claims.”